He can hear it in my voice, he says, when I'm upset. It's the softness in my speech, my languid words. So he asks, what's wrong. And when I say nothing, he tells me not to lie to him. But it's not exactly a lie; Sometimes, I'm not quite sure what it is. I know there's something there, something amiss, just below my surface. But I can't quite put it into words, can't pin down the cause. I feel it in my body, a weariness. My nerves raw and exposed, frayed. I feel the heaviness in my eyelids, my extremities. It's my short fuse, my forced smile. It's difficult to laugh, to exchange pleasantries, to be affectionate.
And I think, it would just be so much easier to be angry. To have a reason, something tangible to be upset over, something solid. But, as it is, I have to carry around this cumbersome and obscure frustration. It weighs me down. It makes me unable to joke, unwilling to take part in casual conversation. My mind is occupied with naming my problem, then fixing it. And if I were actually angry, I think, then I could expel it.
But since I don't know, I force the reasons. I think, I could be mad at him; for laughing, for not wanting to help, for his indifference to our sleeping arrangements. But I can't be mad at that; I know that's not what's making me blue. Pick your battles, they say. So I choose not to fight with him over some annoyance I manufactured. I climb into my car, wearing my snow boots, my coat and a grimace, and I drive on snow-packed roads to my house. And I listen to weepy music, with crying trumpets and melancholy pianos, and I hand myself over to my unnamed despondency. I feel my confidence eroding. And I pull into my lonely driveway, walk into my quiet house, still carrying the tears that I refuse to let fall: What's the use in crying if you don't know why you're doing it?
I fall asleep, trying to write, trying to solve my mood. I wake up feeling exactly the same way: Tired, detached, discontented. And I stand on the porch, first thing in the morning, dog leash in hand, in my morning coat and fuzzy slippers with that same grimace from the night before, still searching for the cause. I drive to work dodging the grimy remains of yesterday's storm, and I listen to talk radio to distract myself from the gravity of my mind frame.
I know it will pass, just as soon as I give up trying to pin it down. Someone will say something funny at just the right moment, and whatever this is hanging over me will disappear just as suddenly as it came. Until then, I'll bury myself in busy work, trying to keep my bare nerves from brushing against anything or anyone, waiting for them to heal themselves.