My morning alarm is not the incessant, constantly ‘sleep’-ed one that emerges from my phone in the dim hours of a gray morning. No, it is the heavy, erratic beat of my heart, chastening me to vigilance.
Yet there is nothing in the room besides a laundry strewn futon. Except, perhaps, the docile and innocent purring of the feline who had attempted to crown me with a hairball in the middle of the night. The only comfort was the pressure of her slight weight behind my knees, the warmth of the memory foam hugging me from below and the blankets I nested in. To emerge into the cold air seemed to risk that incessant beating of heart to rise to a decibel all others in the house might hear; maybe even rising to a decibel that might attract the very fears that have been haunting me for nearly two weeks.
Nightmares. Waking up thrashing in the night to the protesting yowl of two cats flung accidentally from atop the covers. Mornings, the gloom of those night terrors linger about me like smoke.
Hyper-Vigilance. Every time I enter a parking lot, I keep an eye out for the bright crimson of the vehicle I left him. When leaving an event on my own, I nearly panicked when I saw an SUV outside. Yet it was the wrong model. That initial moment, however, my heart lurched into my throat, with all the pain and thickness usually associated with swallowing a too-large ice-cube.
Insomnia. Fears of nightmares lead to poor choices, late nights, and many hours of crocheting, to keep my hands busy, and mindless Netflix, to keep my mind silent.
Irrational fear. He prefers to play the martyr, and cause scenes, rather than challenge the protection order by showing up places (that I know of). Yet the only place he currently knows where to find me, is my work. So some days I sit in my car, in the parking garage, playing games on my phone as I struggle to gather the courage to step out and walk the block to my building. He’s never shown up, and it probably is unlikely to happen, but my lungs tighten, and my muscles jitter, and I notice odd details in the world around me, how the people along the sidewalk are standing. If someone is walking behind me, I have to work hard not to constantly be looking over my shoulder.
Dissociation. A part of the world, and yet apart. There is a faint numbness that runs over my entire body like a second skin, one that allows the awareness of sensation, without the sounds or smell or taste. The world is both clear, and yet veiled, more like the blur of a fast moving world beyond the car window. Distant and untouchable.
These things make it hard to function, as I revisit the divorce, seeking only a 50/50 split that has been met with a defiant “No!” and a demand to apologize and drop the protection order. Being called a liar triggers me, and I fight against the emotions it stirs; fight against being placed back in a box. His lawyer doesn’t even want to deal with the process anymore either, which isn’t helping matters. Knowing my ex, and his instability, I am not entirely surprised. All these emotions, and all these struggles, and e-mails and revisiting the past… it is all just so… fatiguing.