the cave

Your therapist tells you Buddha chose the cave. It is unlikely you will be forced into one. You will think about the cave for 6 months.

In Paris that summer you mistake the first signs of depression for heatstroke. The Starbucks by St. Paul is unromantic but air conditioned. You can't write.

The whole day at the beach you cry in your white dress. When the joke on the ferry home becomes not funny, you swallow your lungs.

The cave goes into hiding. 
He tells you he can't be mad when he has so many times.
The cave returns.

Your therapist encourages something to take the edge off. You refuse.

He hates when you spill. The honey gets everywhere, he is in the bathroom. You beg his mother and brother not to tell. He dips his frustration in water for the rest of breakfast.

When your father finds you he will say that suffering happens outside of the cave, too.

You are the cave.

You lose your shit inside a Duane Reade because all you can see for miles is plastic. You can't be alone so you go to your Aunt's. You are see through.

You start the meds.

On the night you write a letter to your grandmother, it is the first time you cry in a way that did not feel like the earth's eroding. You read it at her funeral.

The cave is gone. 
You are not as nice as when you are depressed. Reckless empathy does not come in a packaged deal with sanity.

You are made of caffeine with no coffee. Her death chases you and you are twice as alive. 
Your iPhone notes are novels. You are sure people think you over-share. You wear your disdain for mediocrity like war paint. You vomit confidence.

Her death obliterates you but only on the subway.

You laugh about the cave.

You write and date and teach, tend to other people's children, and find yourself alone on too many Saturday nights. Somewhere in there is the beach, the open windows, the green blanket, and Nancy. It is not adrenaline but it is not novocain, either. You start drinking coffee again.

On Sunday you are in Paris and walk by the Starbucks. It is spring and you have eaten jam and cheese and berries with mostly your fingers. Two years have passed. You have forgotten the cave.