Nighttime excavating. My nighttime is defined as the time after I’ve had the final interpersonal exchange of the daytime, but before I am asleep. It is my most feared and cherished time of each block of 24 hours.
I see a massive pile in an abandoned lot; splintering wood, milk crates, crumpled up papers, broken electronics, molding food, dead leaves, all towering into a nearly perfectly shaped pyramid. I stand there, my 5’2.25″ giving scale to the tower that turns out to be yards higher than it looked at first glance. And I stand there, pitiful with my trowel. Lending absurdity to the scale.
I remember the social worker from the clinic telling me it was a problem I couldn’t be alone and relaxed at age 16. I remember another one telling me that I had to believe I could be comfortable alone in my own skin at some point without any self-destructive desires or tendencies at age 21. And at age 24 I see a shrink downtown with a similar sentiment.
When I gave him the history of his predecessors, he said that maybe I need that time. That until my excavation is complete, I’ll always have it. And I agreed, with similar ambivalence to my fearful love of nighttime. Because sometimes I feel like Sisyphus. Because as much as I excavate, trowel-ful at a time, the pile grows. Adding losses, memories, diseases… sometimes I fantasize of running away from this life – from every person and responsibility in my world – to go on a full time excavation and not return until I’ve made a big enough dent I can feel more awake, genuine and present in my daily life… or maybe to run away from the fated task.