I sat down in the chair across from Jane.
If her eyes got any bigger they would swallow her face. Her mouth started working like a fish out of water, open and shut. No sound escaped from between her lips. Her face was contorted in such a fashion as to lead one to believe she had wet her pants.
"Jane, snap out of it! What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"uh, I, well..."
She looked down into the cup of coffee sitting before her, as if she could find the words she couldn't say floating in the amber liquid. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then another. for several minutes she sat there just like that. Head bowed, taking deep even breaths. She looked like a woman praying for the soul of a sinner.
With her eyes still closed and her head still lowered she began to speak. What she said shocked and appalled me. It made me sick to my stomach. It changed my life.
"Sara, after Keith died, its like you shut down. You moved and acted like you were on auto-pilot. It was so strange to see you. There was never any emotion on your face. You could talk about Keith and his death as if it were a scientific theory. Some people tried to draw you out. Your mom said it was just you grieving. But it never changed. It was so upsetting for anyone to be around you that... well.... it just got easier to not be around you.
No one could explain it. When we asked you if there was anything wrong or anything you wanted to talk about you either ignored the question or always replied with 'I'm fine'."
Now she looked up at me. Looked me right in the eyes and said:
"And look at you! You must have lost 50 pounds! You never wear make-up anymore, your hair is always pulled back. You haven't worn any color except gray or black in months. Your like a walking talking corpse. People can't stand to be near you. its like there is no life in you! Sitting here talking to you... its... its like talking to the dead!"
It was my turn to sit and stare, mouth agape.
I reviewed everything she had said. I looked back at the last year of my life. I couldn't believe it. It couldn't be true.
But it was. I had been going through the motions of life, not really participating in it.
How could I have let that happen? How could I?
When I finally became aware again of my surroundings, Jane was gone. The numbness running through my legs told me I had been sitting there a while. My coffee was untouched and stone cold. All around me the scene had changed. The late morning crowd had changed into the early afternoon lunch-goers. The sun was higher in the sky and the shadows had shrunk to almost nothing beneath their physical counterparts.
I came to the realization that I had to do something, something drastic, something that would snap me out of this miasma of lifelessness I had plunged into. Something that would make such a big change in my life that I would have to learn to live again. How could I keep going through the world like this? I had a child who would soon be 5.
Oh My God! I almost missed his birthday! My son. What was he thinking of me. What had my melancholy done to him?
What was I supposed to do? What?
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