It isn't where I look but what I find
I've been keeping clear of stepping on the cracks
I miss just enough to keep me coming back
She wants to tell them that she's trying.
She's trying to be rock steady, the way she's always been. She wants to bite her tongue and soldier on. She wants to be happy. So, she's trying hard not to realize when she hasn't been out of the house in days. That there are people she hasn't called, hasn't written. That she'd like to miss them more, but she has to get over missing herself, first.
(Mostly, that the greatest joy she's ever known is wrapped up in a little boy that can't speak yet, that doesn't know her name or her story or even how very, very damaged she can be, because she's terrified she'll let him down, too.)
She owes people things, things she has so much trouble delivering—she owes people her—but she's trying.
She has a story in her head, one word that leads to hundreds that lead to ah-ha! They get it. They'll get her. But it's a crisis that should be a coda. So, she writes and rewrites; each paragraph is a vignette about all the people she used to be, people who dreamed of epic futures, of world-changing and life-altering, of so much passion. She wants everyone to read about all of these hers, to know the better version of herself she's still holding onto so tightly.
But she doesn't, because she's not ready for them to know how often she's failing.
Better to make the break than take the fall
I wouldn't mind hanging on
If I could find out what I'm hanging from
The truth is that the world is made of pockets of so much joy, but they're stitched together by tragedy and people can get confused. For her, it's how in seas of pain, little things can still hurt more—split thumbs and dry eyes at funerals and the feel of tiny fists tangled in her hair.
She thinks maybe this would all be so much easier if she could just learn how to ask for the right things. She wishes she knew what they were, but then maybe knowing them, asking for them, would kill her just a little more, and so she's okay with idling for awhile. Because, really, she knows that they're the hard things, and asking for the easy things has been hard enough already.
So, she doesn't tell them, because they think she looks good, and she acts good, and sometimes, just every now and then, she is good. She's really just so very good.
But she's also just so very tired.
It happens like this: There's a moment, right before the stupor of fatigue grips her, when everything pops. The world comes in sharp relief. She feels the swish of her hair against her neck, the gentle thump of her pulse at her wrist, the press of her lungs against the cage her chest has become. She hears peals of laughter, the heavy snap of sneakers on asphalt. She sees the cracks in foundations, chipped paint, warped shingles. The wear and tear on buildings, on people.
She's winding down, wearing down, and she can't even sleep to pretend that things might get better any time soon. Now she's getting careless, and that makes the words come a little easier. She tells them a little more than they probably ever expected to hear, about her, and how she feels, and what she needs. She's really just giving a dog a bone; the real things, the right things, are still locked up inside her.
She thinks they may always be.
I'm waiting for any lead
And though my case looks fatal
I'm still hoping better angels come to me
She knows grace, though. There's a place deep inside her where her laughter is born. She drew a map so that she wouldn't ever forget the way.