I can't write. There are ideas in my head, but when I sit down to the laptop, they freeze up. Whole monologues rage through my head all day, while I am organizing Earth shoes by size on the sales floor, or sitting in traffic for hours with quite possibly the shittiest, nastiest, most dangerous drivers I have ever encountered. During the walk from the busstop, I rework a paragraph that I have reworked every walk home from the busstop. I get home. I go to my room--with it's piles of clothes on clothes on books on shoes, with the three small pieces of floor that allow me only to stand in front of the bed, in front of the dresser, in front of the door, the only place to sit, the bed, and through the vents, the TV downstairs is blasting American Idol or Survivor or Amazing Race. And then everything just retracts. Like a turtle into a shell, all of the words are gone. There is no escaping the loud, jangly, awful noise of the television in this house. The frigid blast of the AC. There is nowhere quiet to go and gather one's thoughts. I sit dumbly in front of the keyboard or the notebook and before the tears come (AGAIN) I just give in and go turn another TV on. Sometimes I pack it all up and go somewhere else to write. The closest coffeeshop is 8 miles away, and is occasionally quiet. The library, near the freeway, is rarely quiet, but I've tried there. It is quiet right now in the house, the only time until 10 at night.
For two months every single dollar I could spare has gone to pay off my car so I could try to get an apartment. (It won't stop all of the anxiety attacks, but at least I will be able to have them without having to (not) tell my mother what the matter is every time. How do you say, thank you so much for your hospitality but it is killing me slowly?) I still had about two months of payments, and I was trying to breathe through that tightness. I am so thankful for this roof over my head. I am so thankful for this roof over my head.
All that was left was to figure out the damage on my taxes. She helped me figure out 2008--I had always been too afraid, what with the huge severance, cashing in the 401k, untaxed unemployment... It was this monolith in the back of my mind, and I was sure there were stories and poems and essays behind it. We put it all in the computer... And it spit out a refund. Enough to pay off the car. I still don't belive it, and won't until the deposit shows up in my account. But, the letting up of the tightness. I stayed up until 2 am doing 2009, afraid it would eat up the windfall. It didn't. The small wavering flicker of hope!
I called an apartment I had talked to that had been just slightly more than my budget would allow. Everything available right now is either way too sketchy or too expensive. I toured the place--it was old (and not in a good way) but there was a pool, two treadmills and a weight machine. The manager seemed nice. It had a gas stove, it was near Bikram and a knitting meetup and a coffee shop I like (and, most importantly, much closer to someone I would like to be much closer to). Without a car payment, I could do it. It would be a snug fit, but I could cook, do yoga, take bubble baths again. It would be so worth it. I dropped a deposit and then allowed myself some optimism. I planned a writing, studying, and workout schedule. I rearranged the furniture in my mind.
When it came time to get a background check and sign the lease, the son of the manager and I joked around. We swapped nightmare tenant stories. He told me about why there was a clause stating "no windows shall be covered by foil or anyother reflective materials." I told him about the guy with a million animals in my old house. And then he handed me the lease. The rent was over $100 more than what I had been told. I stammered, I explained. The son freaked out, called his dad, who said he never would have told me the wrong price. This tightness in my stomach, started to implode upon itself, getting tighter and harder, pulling my guts into it. There was no way I could afford the new rent, and for it, I have seen much better so far. He said to call if my economic situtation changed, and I said the same to him. The tightness floated up to my throat and started to expand, a supernova and I raced to my car, shut the door and just bawled. Big, ugly barking sobs. I tried to choke out the tightness, cry through it. Please-dont-let-anyone-see-me-and-want-to-help sobs. I sat there for several minutes before heading back to my parents. To my room. Where the editors don't return my emails, the journals send no-thank-yous, and where I have absolutely no idea what the fuck I'm doing anymore.