I sink

It feels like a sunset. It comes on the same way, too. Slow leaking colors, spilling and pooling, shifting and expanding. They are my emotions: joy, fear, anxiety, shame, hope. All my collected feelings that blend and bleed into one another at any given moment, on any given day.

The night pushes them down, flattens them out, steals their space and their oxygen. It crowds them out of the picture as I watch, feeling my oxygen disappear, too. Intensity builds, flaring and fingering out in a last fiery gasp.

Then nothing.

Then dark.

Then emptiness. Or rather, hollowness. What's the difference? Emptiness is the property of a thing that's been void forever, or for a very long time. Or a thing that belongs that way. Or is natural that way. An empty room. An empty glass. Once full, but not needing to be.

Hollowness is a quality of unnatural lack. Things that are hollow shouldn't be that way. Hollow eyes. Hollow soul. Hollow grave. A space asking to be filled.

So, hollowness. Hollow but for wisps of the emotions that blazed bright just moments before. They swirl like smoke inside of me, barely there, and certainly unable to be grasped. And after another few minutes, when dark becomes darker, they're gone, too.

And then it's just black. With very little air to breathe. Everything has been flattened out, the good and the bad. Not even sadness or despair remain. Not enough emotion to generate even a tear.

So I slink home in the twilight, my feet leaden with dread of nothing worth dreading. And I slump against the wall of the elevator, artificial light ugly on my ugliest moment. And I drop onto my bed, dead inside, mechanically lifting my hand to stroke the thing that is so alive, and so needing me to stay that way, too.

And I know it's temporary, and I want to forgive myself, but I can't. Because I don't deserve the indulgence of it, and I haven't earned the right to swim in these waters right now. Have I ever? Probably not.

Probably not.

I'm a joy junkie.

I'm unable to tread water for very long, without something to grab onto, a raft or a float that will accommodate my need to ride one current, then the next. Because if I don't, if I'm forced to tread, I sink.

And it's very hard to catch a sinking stone, especially when you're the stone.