I was exhausted...emotionally, physically and everything else in between. I had enough energy to get up and go to the day job that I had checked out from three years prior…but the checks never bounced so hey, what was one more day right? Then, over the course of several months, a friend who had begun to mentally unravel tried to plug into me as her emotional caregiver. Week after week the messages were nonstop, trying to flush me out. I would go home and curl up inside my reading chair like a ball.
Throw in a toxic family member who tried to draw me into their warped perception of life and my place within it and the final domino fell. On autopilot I informed every family member in close proximity to this person that I was exiting stage left for as long as I needed to and they were not to act as go between. The universe was on my side as no one objected having spotted that the writing on the wall was getting darker and more negative for years. As for the friend, the parents finally stepped in and took her away to get her the help she needed. I was finally given an air pocket to breath, completely battered and bruised.
Slowly repairing the tracks, I zeroed in on one goal. I love books, all kinds of books, so I thought maybe I could start by asking some of those booksellers that were left if there was a spot for me within the stacks. Just a mental refuge, wasn’t looking for pay ( though that was on my list), just one step in front of the other. In a mental fog, I wandered into a bookstore that sold volumes that are way out of my budget, unless I were to hit the lottery. And the bookstore was the size of an office. I couldn’t hide behind a row of volumes, I was front and center. So I admired the books instead, gilt edges and all. There was one solitary shelf that had single books ( the rest were anthologies) and one in particular kept grabbing my eye. Pulling it from the shelf I noticed it was a price I could afford and justify to myself as a birthday-thanskgiving-christmas gift to myself. Twenty minutes later it was carefully wrapped in tissue paper in a fancy bag coming home with me. I may not have left with a job,but something priceless.
Over the next few hours at home I marveled at its details. Hand painted pages and random passages underlined with faint black crayon. One passage highlighted about a soul being protected when in the midst of trials stuck out. I fell asleep with the book propped in my arm. When I woke up I felt a little better. For the rest of the year when more upheaval arose, the book became my mental refuge. When the universe tapped me on the shoulder that I needed to finally break free from the job that was slowly killing my creativity, this book was in arms length. Its pages silently whispering encouragement. I may not be in a bookstore, but I am finally on the right path. Not so battered and not so bruised.