The Black Car

I have found my own modern day hermit’s cave, which I call The Black Car. I work, only because I must. And on days when I have to bring the magic in my job I have one of my parts do the heavy lifting. I’ve stopped answering most text messages and phone calls. There are a small few people whom I will reply to or answer calls, but its often painful for me to do so, and I’m usually itching to cease the communication.

Last month I had memories start to come forth, though only slivers of clues that beg further questions. Though enough has come forth that I am constantly stupefied by memories that pour out of my brain at moments when I need my full concentration, usually at work.

I tried explaining to one friend in particular this afternoon why I had been isolating and strugggling. When I told him I had been struggling with memories he just looked at me, and said nothing. And then after an uncomfortable silence he changed the subject altogether. I felt silly sitting there in that sushi restaurant with too many sushi rolls between us, and the cloud of discomfort in the air. The interaction confirmed my instincts for staying hidden away from most people to the extent possible.

I walk around only seeing what is directly in front of me.  An old friend saw me in the tea shop yesterday, and she had to wave me down and say my name loudly to get my attention. I honestly did not see her sitting in close vicinity of me.

I have days where I can fake it very well, when my dear Sabrina can fully come out at work and bring the magic. And then at the end of the day The Black Car is waiting again, and Sabrina has left when she senses that she is no longer needed for work.

The Black Car is a dependable old girl, and she’s always there patiently waiting for the next ride.

Dear Boss, today was different.

I’m just as confused as you are. I know you’re dying to ask how one day I can be the gal with the haunted vacant look, moving robotically in the office, steadily working, but trying to stay hidden from the world. And then, the very next day, I can interrogate someone for an hour and a half, and get a couple of admissions in the process. Trust me, I’m never sure if the magic will show up when I need it. The magic in this case was Sabrina. She’s the calm, cool, collected interrogator that looks like a sweet librarian with her cardigan and pulled up hair, but make no mistake, she is waiting for the target to slip up with his words.

Me? Hell, Sabrina got me into this profession. If it was up to me I would have been a writer in a cave somewhere far away from the populace. Sabrina is handy because she can bring the intensity that’s necessary for this job. She can write, analyze and look for patterns. Oh, yes, and she can argue. But, she’s no diplomat. You would never want to send her to the U.N. That’s where we get into trouble, along with the fact that she has a temper.

I listened to the audio file of the interrogation after it was over, and it still stuns me to not quite recognize myself when I hear my voice. It’s my voice, and it isn’t. It has a self-confidence I do not normally possess. It excites me and terrifies me to hear such quick thinking, yet have little recollection of it.

Unfortunately, once the interesting part of the job is over for the day, Sabrina disappears as well. I wish that weren’t the case, but I don’t seem to have control over that at the moment. I’m left with a moving carousel of parts, which is why you see confusing and differing parts of me. You see uber confident Sabrina during interrogations; vacant, depressed Belle when triggered; at lunch time, Letty jonesing for a sandwich if we’re running late to eat; and me when there’s a heavy writing assignment that allows me to close the door to my office.

I’m sitting in your office chatting with you when one of the gals pops her head in and says that the number 2 guy in the agency wants to speak with me on the phone. Usually, it is not good news to get a phone call from this guy, especially at my level. I’m not exactly one of the big dogs. You and I exchange terrified looks, and we head to my office together. I answer the phone with my heart in my throat, and I hear, “Beatriz, what did you do? The interrogation must have gone well! Did you Perry Mason him? This is great! Good job! He’s spinning out. You must have really hit a nerve.” I couldn’t find my words for a bit, likely because it wasn’t Sabrina on the phone with him. I looked over at you, and smiled. You could tell that it was okay.

a little hope

I woke up this morning to a message from a friend who asked if I was still blogging. And to my further stunned surprise, she said she missed it. It was another one of those many life moments for me where my perception of myself and what others may perceive do not match. I am infinitely stunned by moments where my presence in this universe is not something to avoid, like ticks on a hike.

After countless months I still feel the cold fear of writing. But I want to move through it.

Life has taken a turn for hope and slivers of sunshine. And the bizarre thing is that though I’ve always wanted these blessings, a job that won’t destroy my soul and a partner I adore, they feel fleeting. It’s as if they will slip out of my hands if I allow myself to be too happy, let my guard down in the laughter and serenity. I used to think if I could just have one of these things, a job that wasn’t toxic or a loving partner, my life would even out, the bumpy roads would be fewer, and my swaths of time spent in dire sadness and anxiety would largely cease. There are fewer bumpy roads, and life has shown me lovely peeks of sunshine; however, the sadness and anxiety have a trigger that’s a different side of the same coin -fear of loss.

I freeze and get stuck in moments that are genuinely happy, like the time my partner and I danced to Lady of the Harbor by Brother Sun. That is so not a dancing song, but it felt so right to dance and sing to the hope and love for humanity in that song with my favorite human being on the planet. And in that moment, all I can think is, “I do not deserve this beautiful, kind soul who can gently hear me out when I get upset, and will say to me, “You’re entitled to your feelings.” She will say this to me,  grouchy me with my too-hard-on-people ways. In that beautiful moment we shared that song, the prominent thought in my brain was, “Will I mess this up? Don’t mess this up. Don’t be a jerk, drop that stupid defense mechanism.

Before we admitted our feelings to each other my now partner asked me, “How did we get to our age and not find people we could be our true selves with?” I said to her, “The DID was a wall for me with people.” And then we both got teary after that.

And here’s the moment when I thought that maybe, just maybe, she also had feelings for me, she said this to me one night via text before we were together, “You’re a whole messy human who’s willing to let us in. I’ll take the bad with the good. It makes you you.” She won my heart in that moment.

And when I find myself losing hope I think back to our text conversation about me sleeping on the back of my family’s gold Montego when I was a kid, with my blanket in the desert night, the long back of the Montego was perfect for sleeping under the stars. The stars gave me hope for a better tomorrow. I said to her, “The stars are full of hope.” And she replied, “They are – they burn bright for millions of years. Beacons of hope.”