what happens next

On a flight this morning, the flight attendant let everyone know that she would be picking up the movie players soon, and suggested fast forwarding to find out how things end.

Sometimes, when things are particularly hard and all I can do is not know what to do, it seems like it might be nice to fast forward to find out how things end. But of course, this is life, not a movie, so while we’re living anyway, there is no real “end”, there’s only what happens next. And what happens next after that.

I’m in another hotel with another goldfish. She seems distressed (yes, she’s a girl; her name is Evelyn). She’s frantically swimming at the glass, trying to find her way out. I know how she feels sometimes, trying to find your way when any way at all is impossible. But you keep swimming anyway. I don’t want to be frantic like Evelyn. It won’t help me get anywhere. I can sometimes find a peaceful place in not knowing what happens next, although sometimes the what’s happening right now is harder. You want to frantically fight against it, but all that will make you is tired.

When I was still married and things weren’t going well, my then husband said that I used to be fun. Implying that the previous fun me was much preferred to the current not-so-much fun me. And I know. It’s not so great being around someone who’s broadcasting soul-crushing sadness. And it’s not so fun to be that person either. I want to be fun. And funny. And poetic. And clever. And entertaining. And to not be those things is exhausting me. But this too shall pass.

So I hold on as tightly as I can to my solid buoy in this vast and endless ocean. And I fight with all my breath to just be still, to hold on, to make it through this moment, to get to what happens next. And to what happens next after that.

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