Cleaning

A portrait of me by Mars (@sensitiveblackperson)

A portrait of me by Mars (@sensitiveblackperson)


Monday, May 2nd, 2016.

I’m getting dressed for work. It’s gloomy out. I’m self-conscious about the way my uniform smells because of my pets (and if I’m more honest, because of me, too). I spray air freshener on my shirt in the hopes that I stop smelling like an unbathed dog, cat litter, and self-abandonment. My room is a mess.

This past weekend I splurged in the name of good art and greater company. The knots inside of me slacken. I can take them apart but I haven’t yet. My finances are a mess. My memories, beautiful. Perfect.

I pass a lint roller over my slacks. Over my slacks. Over my slacks. I forget to spray them. I still have pet hair on my pants when I step out. I wonder if my Uber driver knows I’m a mess. I wonder if he can smell how disengaged I am from myself and everything that isn’t or doesn’t feel feel temporary. The weekend has only just passed and I’m already too retrospective.

Before I step out of my apartment, I resolve to clean my room when I get home. I love a clean room. A clean home. The consistency of clarity. The feeling I got at work when I blew my nose and breathed clearly for the first time in over a week. Ahh, there it is. Verity. And the truth is when you have depression, you’re more protective of the chance, however slim or broad, of happiness rather than the happiness itself (that, we just try to make the most of while it lasts until the clouds come again). It starts raining before I open my store.

I love rain. I love when the rain falls in neat lines and even more when it falls in chaotic criss-crossing patterns. When you’re cleaning, I mean really cleaning, there’s a point where you end up with a bigger mess than what you started with. Thankfully, this means that the worst of the job is done. This part of the Earth will be clean soon. Wait for the clouds’ farewell.

The sky is still at work now. I dislike these kinds of clouds, the ones that don’t bring rain or thunder. I dislike the way they don’t provide temporary relief from a hot sun. I dislike the way they shroud the sky, the way they shroud me, in darkness. I dislike the way they render everything murky, less distinguishable. Messy.

I can untangle almost anything. All my life I’ve been enlisted to untangle cables, christmas lights, jewelry, my friends problems, etc. It’s not that I had the patience for it, for any of it, but rather that I didn’t find it frustrating to have to go back and forth between the roots and ends of the knots. Just daunting. A little. For me. For my knots. And actually, a lot. Sometimes it’s one big, easy knot. Most of the time, they’re a bunch of small, tight knots: the kind that you sometimes just have to rip out of your hair and be done with. But only sometimes. For now, I untie the noose from around my mind. Now, I am my own again.

It’s cloudy when I get home. In my head, I sound off every aspect of my current situation. I can’t afford to do laundry right now. I’ll have to wash my uniform by hand. Tomorrow, I have to go pick up some film from the pharmacy. I hope I have something left on my MetroCard. I don’t have enough money for my rent. I’ll have to borrow and pay it back every week while I save up for the next month. I let out a heavy sigh and try to breathe easy. I go to the bathroom and begin filling my bucket with hot water, Mistolin, and wood cleaner. I go to the kitchen pantry to get my broom and dust pan. I pick myself up again.