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Days of the Last Straw By: Laura Winton

I.

I am tired of being sad. Tired of being mad. Tired of being fearful, afraid of the phone, afraid of conflict, afraid to talk to anyone because they might recriminate me—is that the right word? Tired. Tired of being offensive, defensive, unacknowledged, overly noticed, of coming out with my hands up, with my dukes up, with my fists in front of my face ready to strike, protect. I just want to be in love with two people, the 2 out of 9 billion – is it 9 billion yet, or still only a puny little 8 billion? We’re not special anymore, being 1 out of 9 billion, and anyone who you can love out of 8 billion – or nine – that makes two less lonely billionaires. But I’m too sad to love anyone right now, to show affection or love and I really just want to be alone among 8 or 9 billion people, but I am also afraid. I am afraid to leave and afraid to go, like so many other people, maybe most people, maybe at least 6 billion other people are afraid of this right now, or maybe only 5. I am . . . I am. Period. I am. Tired. And I want. To be happy. It is all I have ever wanted. I don’t want to fight with my landlord my student loan officers bill collectors my father my friends my lovers. I want no argument no last straws no ultimatums no broken dishes no hurt looks no pride injured.

II.

The Days of the Last Straw are both followed and preceded by a seemingly endless but imperceptibly elliptical cycle known as the Days of the (Temporary) Peace, also known to many, women in particular, as the Days of Danger. These are the days when things appear to be normal. When you joke and laugh without incident, without argument, and you lull yourself into believing that everything can be alright, that it can be normal, that you can go on like this and that this time it will be different, the way you have always wanted it to be. It will take many many repetitions to remove yourself from this vortex.

III.
These are the Days of the Last Straw, when the weight of the world, our destinies, rest upon every single repetition of every fight over the years Every bottle, every wrapper left open, every toilet seat left up, one wrong move could set the whole thing off, trigger the end of the world. An exaggeration, but definitely the end of worlds that we know, the end of a way of life, sending each of us off in a different direction, paths potentially parallel for a while, only to wildly diverge, to wildly wander, to deviate at some future unnamed point in time.

IV.

I lack
time
distance
the will

to walk away. I don’t want to walk away. I can’t make it better and I can’t walk away. I will say something that I cannot take back

V.

Is there a mechanism to have this break and not repeat every break that every one else has ever had through time? Is it possible to have a break that is not the same as every other break that I have had? Is it possible to do it all originally, without the use of a thesaurus to try to avoid the break up clichés? Can one stay with someone long enough to discover the originality in breakups, or are we doomed to repeat them, performatively, performing the exact same phrases that came before us, as in a ritual, as in an un-marriage.

And so in our grief, even then, we are modern, worried about how to have an original thought, an original feeling. Perhaps this is what gets us through the process, distracts us from what matters or makes us see that in our clichés, this is what happens to everyone and it isn’t as tragic as we had originally thought.

VI.

After a fight, the need to connect with someone else, the desperate need to prove that someone can still love you. That you are still worthy., The fear of losing others, of losing everyone. I want to break up with the whole world at once.

VII.

Don’t read anything into this. Just read it.

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