The Breaking Point

Finally, months after the fact, we had Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, dressing, broccoli and rice casserole. But no cranberry sauce. No condiment tray. It was just the two of us, so pulling out all the stops would have been wasteful. The meat was just a fragment of the original bird; a frozen breast taken from the freezer and immediately placed in the oven. But the rest of the meal was prepared from scratch. Turkey remains, even after two full meals, but we finished the rest. Today, we’ll have turkey sandwiches for lunch. And that will be that. Thanksgiving 2019, late by four months and then some.

***

The weakness in my wife’s legs does not seem to be improving after a few sessions of physical therapy. She still cannot make it up or down even a single step without assistance. She tires after three minutes of walking. I worry that her condition may be permanent.  I hope I am wrong. I urge her to exercise to improve her strength and stamina, but she resists and get upset with me. Damn.

***

I have been saving some seeds lately. Tomatoes and jalapeños so far. I intend to save seeds from bell peppers and zucchini when next we have those vegetables. When I crack an egg, I wash the shell and keep it to use as a miniature seed starter. I fill it with potting mix, put a few seeds on top of the soil, cover the seeds with more soil, and spray water on the tiny planters. I won’t know for a week or more whether any of the seeds germinate. If they do, I will coddle them until they are of sufficient size and strength to put in larger containers. I may buy seeds from Burpee; my good friend suggested ordering online, since I am unable and/or unwilling to venture out during the plague to find seeds in stores crowded with virus-laden hillbillies.

***

I may change the settings on this blog to require a password to view the contents. Even the little traffic this blog gets seems to be coming from SEO factories that are trying to lure me back to them and their client websites. If the volume of the few regular visitors drops off because they do not want to be bothered with a password, so be it. I’m not in a compassionate mood at the moment.

***

It is too early to tell whether the massive disruptions to human life on earth visited upon us by COVID-19 will lead to a huge spike in suicides, but I believe the numbers will rise dramatically  in time. I’ve already forecast, on this blog, an increase. I thought I had, but I checked to see; it was in my March 20 post (and maybe others). When I searched for “suicide” in my blog posts, I was surprised to see the results: fifty posts contain the word. I am not fascinated by suicide, but I think I understand what drives people to decide it is their only option to relieve their pain.

***

I cannot say with certainty but I believe being “cooped up” is having an impact on my psychological well-being. I’m increasingly angry at nothing. I feel like screaming in rage at nothing in particular. I’m just mindlessly upset. I do not like being around myself when I’m in this odd, foul mood. If I could split myself into two people, one being calm and the other being a raving lunatic, I would do it. And then I’d drown the crazy or or throw him off the back deck. What the hell causes such obvious madness? Is it really just staying indoors? I could go out for a long walk, but leaving my wife home alone when she has such a hard time maneuvering steps is unacceptable. Ach! Meditation. Maybe that’s what I need. Meditation.  Or medication. A stiff drink before 6 a.m. I can’t even fathom a drink at this hour. But I can fathom a more relaxed me. This, too, shall pass. It always does. Well, it always has.

***

I shall stuff orange bell peppers with a heavily-spiced mixture of ground beef, rice, and canned tomatoes. I will roast said peppers and they will serve as dinner tonight. I am more in the mood for pasta, but that will wait until another time. Maybe I will be in the mood for stuffed bell peppers by dinner time. Maybe not. There’s no telling. Only time will tell. If anything does.

***

Coincidence can appear malicious. Accidents of time and inattention can seem deliberate. They may appear to be premeditated snubs meant to pick at wounds and rub salt in them. Assuming pernicious intent in its absence offers evidence of paranoia. Yet treating neglect as merely an unplanned oversight risks being blinded to reality. Sometimes, coincidence is not coincidental. Sometimes malice was, indeed, the point. The challenge is to determine whether a behavior, or its omission, sprang from a conscious decision or from oversight.

***

What does “at the breaking point” mean? Does it mean a person snaps, as in loses his mind? Goes stark-raving mad? Breaks plates and glasses? Or do those things happen only after a person PASSES the breaking point? How can one tell whether a person is AT the breaking point? These questions kept me awake for a while last night. But I slept until 4:00 this morning, after dozing off early and then, waking with those thoughts on my mind around 1:00. I was asleep again before 2:00, I think. But I have no way of knowing when I actually went to sleep again. Strange thoughts in my head at this hour. It’s closing in on 6:00 and I’m no more sane now than I was at 1:00. What the hell is “the breaking point?”

***

There is, within each of us, an aching need for an embrace. Not simply a hug, but a willing acceptance of all that we are; all the flaws, all the blemishes, all the tarnished achievements never made. We want, perhaps even need, hopeful signs that might dispel the notion that we are not good enough to be loved.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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1 Response to The Breaking Point

  1. Hope says:

    Oh, I loved your last paragraph. It’s so true. So true.
    Stay well, my friend.

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