Mrs. Jeffries was my third grade teacher. I adored her. Not only did I hang on her every word, I wanted to be her daughter. She taught me (I’m sure there were other kids in the class, I’m not sure) everything that was important to a third grader. One of the most important things she taught me about was quicksand. I didn’t know that quicksand even existed until Mrs. Jeffries taught a lesson about it. Now being from Alaska I truly thought that quicksand was a figment of some cartoonist imagination, a foil of the bad guys. Quicksand is real but I am still unsure where exactly it can be found.
During our quicksand lesson, Mrs. Jeffries instructed us on the dos and don’t of quicksand. The first don’t is…
Don’t fall into quicksand.
The second don’t is…
Don’t struggle if you do fall into quicksand.
The proper procedure if you fall into quicksand is to take a deep breath and float on your back until help arrives. Even though I was sure quicksand was no where near Willow Crest Elementary, I was now on quicksand alert. As an eight year old I was convinced I could beat quicksand if I ever fell or came upon it, but I would do everything differently than Mrs. Jeffries told me to do. I loved Mrs. Jeffries but I knew I knew more than her in this case. I also knew that I knew more than nature itself. If I fell into quicksand I would kick the shit out of that stupid quicksand. I would battle and fight and scream until the quicksand miraculously released me. I would defeat any quicksand in my path. Even as a child I was willful, stubborn and impatient. My defiance of everything has served me well. it has also been my downfall. I resist what I don’t like or can’t handle. I am resisting my life right now. I am in quicksand and I am fighting to get out. Even though I know I must float on my back and stop fighting, I am defiant even in my grief. I can’t stop myself from the disbelief of my situation. I say to myself everyday, he is gone, and I am alone. I am meant to be alone, I am a widow. Yet I fight, instead of float. I am not even content in my fighting because I know it won’t work either. Maybe the grief is still fresh or maybe I am still in shock, I am not sure. I am sure that I am in quicksand and I am struggling to get out. Unfortunately, no one is coming to help me. The thought of floating on my back seems preposterous right now. Everyone always tells everyone else to fight, so I am fighting. For what I am unsure. Am I fighting for my life or am I fighting against my life? I am not suicidal today so I am technically not fighting to stay alive (although there have been days when I believed a final exit would be less painful).
Dismal, heartbroken, mournful, somber, blue, distressed or just plain sad. Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. I would have been married for twenty-three years, that is more than half my current age. I want it, the day, to just go away and yet I want to celebrate. I want to go someplace romantic and… I don’t know what. The song lyrics “lonely, I’m so lonely, don’t have nobody to call my own, keep drifting through my head. This is just a weird fucking time. Are people supposed to celebrate? Better yet, are widows and widowers supposed to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Should I expect cards in the mail like I did three years ago and what would that card say? Mary Ann says that I should keep counting this time as still being married. We disagree. I am not married anymore and to believe otherwise would make be delusional, right? I am everything but delusional. I wish I could pretend that quicksand wasn’t real. I wish I could put blinders in and shove myself back to my reality of yesteryear but I can’t. I suppose some do. I suppose those people that do say things like, “I’m great!” when in reality they are sinking faster than I. I have never been able to deny my discomfort, I wear it all over my sad eyes.
The problem with quicksand is it’s a tricky bitch. It makes you think that you can fight your way through it and you can not. Quicksand is real.