Chicago, 1967.

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Chicago, Illinois

October 23, 1967
I wake up feeling like the same million bucks I’ve felt like in the more recent weeks of my life. God damnit. Eyes wide, heart giddy for no apparent reason, I shuffle over to the medicine cabinet with that incessant yet subtle smile pasted on my mouth. Strange maybe, but I hate it. Sometimes I feel like crying. But the medicine prevents me. I can feel that undeniable and familiar feeling in my heart and stomach that’s begging me to give in to my own dark side, like a former lover begging for forgiveness. But I am simply unable to surrender to that side of darkness.

The tears are handcuffed to a ball and chain in a dungeon somewhere unknown in my body where they are made by the thousands and released by the dozens. I want them to fall so they can unleash their natural relief that they used to so frequently.  Often times, I feel as though crying is necessary, but I haven’t cried for weeks, maybe months now… Fuck, I’ve lost track.

The issues that once made me crawl into my own shame are still present yet the opacity of the depressing nature of it all seems almost translucent. It’s as though I have some sort of faux spell of happiness cast upon a body that was once so drowned in complete misery. So all and all, I presume the pills I take once a day are a positive supplement for my being, yet there’s something that frustrates me with this daily regime of uncapping, drinking, and swallowing. Perhaps it’s the fact that there is now one less feeling that I seem to no longer be able to experience. I almost liked having a therapist.

So alas I sit here staring into the small, orange, plastic container that holds these pills and think these thoughts, trying to locate the bottom under the pile of off-white capsules. I meander over to the sink and fill up a small glass jar half empty with water. I have always had an odd habit of putting the water in my mouth before the pill. I don’t know why I do it, but I’m guessing it’s to avoid the unpleasant tastes of the many pills Ive had to ingest throughout my lifetime. I hoist myself onto the counter and take a large sip of water before swishing it around in my mouth pensively. I set the glass down and sit with my elbows digging into my knees and become enveloped in the deepness of my thoughts.

It’s an incredible concept of how an object so small is made up of so many different chemicals, each with a 12 letter long name. And combined all together, with one pulse of the throat muscles, they can change a person’s overall being. I knit my eyebrows together with a frown and swallow the water, ignoring the pill I placed back in the container. I hop down off the counter and without shoes, spontaneously race outside onto the foggy, empty street.

It’s 11:13 am. The Windy City breathes it’s moist air into my body, making my hair encircle my head like a child hula hooping. There are not many people out on the streets, most are hunched over typewriters in their cubicles, clickity clacking the day away inside some tall, grey building. I squeeze my eyes shut–hard–with all the might I have inside of me. I think my most morose thoughts and will even the slightest droplet of liquid to ease itself down my cheek.

Nothing.

I drop my shoulders and huff out a chilled breath. I realize the state of my appearance when a thin 70 or so year old woman wearing an argyle sweater and walking her rat dog, offers me a dime. I decline, shake my head and with a small laugh start walking towards the lake.

I have nothing to be unhappy about, and that’s the worst part. The doctors only tell me that “my brain chemistry is off” and that “depression is often caused by unknown sources.”  I think this is bullshit because there must be something that acts as a catalyst for the intense emotion I used to feel so regularly, even if it’s something invisible. I almost wish I could feel it once again. There was a part of it I almost came to adore. It made me in my own element, made me want to be by myself. And without depression in my veins, I feel the incessant pressing need for someone constantly by my side so I am never alone, like being in love.

Now I sit, on the sand, in the wind, on the shores of the lake. It’s 11:34 am. My hair is still being ratted by the wind so I put it in a sloppy bun and tuck the stragglers behind my ears. I cup my hand and light my cigarette. No, I’m not addicted, and I never will be. It’s amazing what certain things in your life you have absolute control over. Smoking is one of them. Depression is not one of them. After the 4th try of lighting the stick, I inhale the familiar fumes. Another small item made up of numerous toxic chemicals, this one with far more negative effects.

I exhale and squint my dry eyes against the prevailing winds that hit me. I can’t explain why my mind wanders to such aimless thoughts. Like, why is a normal person called an “average Joe”? And why isn’t there a female version of this average Joe character? I breathe out a stream of smoke into that crispy, mid-western air once more and imagine that if average Joe were a woman instead, her name would be Sarah since that is the most mundane name for a female I could think of.

And even as I comb through these out-of-the-blue thoughts, I nevertheless have that god awful hint of smile on my face.

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