A Round Up of Daily Tragedies

I was born as Wednesday’s child of woe and I thrive in lamenting daily losses , both mine and yours. The little big things, the invisiblia and obscure paraphernalia of the everyday normal. Think of this as your daily wrap-up of today’s tragedies that went by without notice or pause. The involuntary shoulder shakes of the woman with sandy hair thrown messily into a bun 20 years too young for her. The endless sparkle of city lights from the window of a building I will only be allowed to enter once. The cracks in the pavement leading to the bus stop, unnoticed by the city, just like the rest of the neighborhood. The unexpected kind words of a strange man I encounter at the train station — I cannot lie, my first instinct was (and always is) fear. The gentle cajoling smile on the face of the young man selling his poetry downtown. The homeless father-daughter duo, offering blessings to disappointed downtowners.

The young mother handing back a child-sized t-shirt, realizing that there is no more in her purse. The grunt of the taxi driver, as he realizes you are yet another short fare, and he is probably not going to make his mortgage this month.

The relentless movement of time and suddenly those shelves seem impossible — you, who were the tallest mother on the block, can no longer bring your own crockpot down. A slow, silent rage swells and then subsides. The tragedy of anger is very differently written. This is not the place. This is where I come to mourn the matter-of-fact emails that brightened my day and are now gone. It is where I allow myself to open the safe and pull out the little black box where I have wrapped all my dashed dreams, all my failed loves. It is a lead ball, it is heavy, it radiates. I try and stay away from it for its pull is an inevitable disaster. I have just learned the art of pretense-balancing (for the world’s sake) and I cannot fall back into my bed yet again. So I look at it and put it back and shut the door and run. I run from everything.

I have learned to take count of the daily tragedies and casualties. This sort of bookkeeping is not for everyone. If it sounds exhausting, trust me, it is. But it also helps bear witness to the world in ways not everyone is privy too. In ways not everyone wants to. I write this so I can put into words my daily denial, my pretense that we are not made of stardust and blood and faulty veins and dying each moment as we speak. That we were not born in a world which is set up to be a tragedy and the occasional moments of redemption are what keep the farce of happiness going.

I have learned that discounting this everyday casualties as we all wake up and live and love and work and fight and die does not help me. So I watch out for them, I listen for them. Everyday, I bring them home with me and make careful note and remember, somewhere, someone is making note of the everyday joys and victories of our daily lives.

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