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MORBID CURIOSITY

Cindy Maddera

I opened my Fortune Cookie journal to the first blank page and the prompt for the day was "don't be grumpy! Be grateful!". I tapped the the table with my pen and scrunched my mouth to one side. Isn't this whole gratitude thing something I post about every week? On this day, with a head full of a snot and a cough that just won't go away, I was feeling more grumpy than grateful for sure. Also, I cringed at the sickeningly sweet Pollyanna tale that was going to come out onto the paper. I know myself. Always look on the bright side of life, even when it's a piece of shit. So I wrote a story about a woman named Mavis who started her morning all wrong, stubbing her toe, spilling coffee on her one clean blouse. You know, those kind of mornings that make think you should have just stayed in bed. By the time I had reached the bottom of the page, Mavis was late to work. Her train had been late. She was delayed getting to her stop. As she finally emerged from the station to the sidewalk up top...

I looked at the page and the first and most fitting thing I could think to write was "she looked up just in time to watch a plane fly into the building where she worked." Because sometimes, my thoughts get dark. I mean...it's still looking at the bright side of life. I'm just doing it while eating baker's chocolate. Side note: when I was a kid, we did not have candy in the house. Maybe, if you were super good and the stars where aligned in the shape of a candy cane, you could buy a Hershey bar, but you would have to share it with your sister. And maybe your mom, depending on her mood. I supplemented my candy needs with the occasional spoonful of sugar and baker's chocolate. Bitter sweet is really very palatable. 

Saturday evening we had some of Michael's old high school friends over for s'mores. When Michael told the Cabbage we were having friends over, the Cabbage said "Oh is that funny guy, Chris, coming over?" For a moment I got real nervous. The funny guy Chris that I know is dead. Is Chris haunting the Cabbage? My first thought was not that the Cabbage had gotten the name wrong, but that my dead husband was telling her jokes while she played in her room. I found the idea of Chris haunting the Cabbage to be equally hilarious and infuriating and I looked over at his can of ashes and said "what the fuck, Chris?!?" I was the only one to witness this because Michael and the Cabbage were in the other room. I quickly swept my dark haunting thoughts aside to make room for names of people the Cabbage might actually be talking about. She was talking about Terry. Michael described him to her and she decided that she really meant Terry instead of Chris. He described Terry just as I was getting up to grab a picture of Chris and ask "Are you talking about this guy?!?!?!" Which would have made the whole thing super weird because all the stuff about the haunting only took place in my brain. 

I have read that September tends to be a hard month for people with depression. I still keep telling myself that I am not a depression person. If I continue to deny it all, then it won't be true, but September has been mildly dark. If I'm honest, August wasn't the greatest either. We were driving around town, running errands that seemed meaningless and pointless and at one point I thought about opening the car door and just getting out of the car. In the middle of traffic. While the car was moving. The following Monday, I scheduled an appointment with a therapist because I recognized that it probably wasn't all too healthy to be fantasizing about jumping out of a moving vehicle on a busy street. The therapy helped and I felt like I was making progress in life. I cleaned the basement and threw away loads of garbage. I've deleted the contents on two old computers. I've been writing and working on little projects. Really....things are better. It's just being sick and confined to the couch for a week was a setback. I took a whole bunch of steps forward and then hopped back half way. 

It's been twenty minutes since the last time I coughed or had to blow my nose. I did my cardio at the gym and only had to blow my nose once. I got on my yoga mat for the first time in a week and only had to blow my nose twice. I haven't had to transfer money between accounts to cover bills. I tried a new clearing protocol for work stuff and it worked so well, I lost my samples because they disappeared (Science Magic!). These are forward moving steps. I'm going to buy the rest of the things I need to make my Halloween wreath this weekend and then I'm going to set up Suzanne in her new home out front. And I know those things are going to be huge steps forwards.