pages 40-46

   I am exhausted.

   Physically, mentally, emotionally. I am spent. I am so tired that I didn't know what day it was until I just looked it up. It's Tuesday. A whole new episode of Bachelor in Paradise has aired and I haven't even seen it because I am SO TIRED.
   I do manage to put myself to bed at a decent hour, but only spend the nights tossing and turning, which really pisses off the cat. If she doesn't get eight undisturbed hours of sleep in the crook of my arm every night, she *will* scratch my face (that is a promise she has made good on, not a threat). And while a pissy feline putting her talons into my eyeballs and her butthole right onto that place on my pillow where my mouth goes definitely sucks, the no-sleep thing is worse. Before Alex died, I used to fall asleep within minutes of hitting the sheets. Aside from bowling, which I am strangely kind of good at, it is one of my very few and cherished talents. I could fall asleep during the first sentence of a book I had just cracked open, or if in the car, before we even left our neighborhood (in the passenger's seat DUH I DON'T DRIVE). But not anymore, which means all I have left is bowling. Though if I'm not sleeping, how good at that am I really going to be?  
   This physical symptom of emotional trauma has taken me by surprise. As many of my friends and family members may have noticed, I am not currently spending my days as a sobbing basket case. And that's not because I'm suppressing the urge to cry every five seconds. I just genuinely can't get there emotionally. It's like I had a credit line of feelings, and I've maxed out. I don't feel anything. I'm numb. So numb, in fact, that I can't even feel things when I want to. After going several nights without sleeping, I thought that maybe an emotional release would help, so I went for a fast run while listening to sappy music. This is something I avoided like the plague six weeks ago because it would get me all choked up and blubbery, and crying in public is one of my worst nightmares, second only to the one where Ramona (my dog) gets the ability to talk and the first thing she tells me is that she doesn't like me. But I figured a good cry may actually help me fall asleep, so I waited till dark (so no one would see me if I did dispense tears in a public space) and set out for what I hoped would be one hell of an emo run. After five miles of running as fast as I could while listening to Alex's favorite songs, songs that remind me of him, and other drippy tunes that on any other day could get me crying faster than pictures of puppy mills...nada. Nothing. With one mile left to go, I pulled out the big guns. I haven't been able to listen to this song in months, even before Alex died. It hits so close to home that, like the real home I grew up in, I avoided it at all costs. I scrolled through my playlist, found it, and pressed play.

   Heavy, right? Especially if you love Springsteen like I do. But no. Not even the Boss could conjure up as much a sniffle. I finished mile six and walked upstairs to my apartment, showered while drinking a beer, and turned in for another long, restless night.

   Maybe I feel numb because my body is protecting itself from releasing a floodgate of awful that would make me into the kind of snot-tears mess I am terrified to be. Maybe I can't sleep because the subconscious effort it takes to surround these chewy, bubblegum feelings in layers of hardened behavior until I am the world's largest emotional jawbreaker, is so immense that my brain has to work all night, too.  Or maybe I can't sleep because, like the highway patrolman, my chase is finally over, and I don't know what to do next.

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