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Let me hold you in my arms forevermore...

***

Lana yawned as she reached for her phone. "Hey sexy."

"Hold on one second." Brent said as he muted the call. "She just got done screwing Brad." He told the woman seated across from him. "Do you still want to go through with this?"

"How can you tell?"

"It's her voice. It drops like that and gets huskier, she talks more slowly, she gets more dreamy. Just please trust me on this."

"I believe you. I'm just surprised you got that from two words."

"She always calls me sexy. It'd be nice if she believed that. I call her beautiful and she calls me sexy. It's just how we greet each other."

"Brad is okay with that?"

"Lana has had one crush in her entire life. He's it. She fell for him just before she turned thirteen. Everyone could tell except for him."

"That surprises me too. He seems more perceptive than that."

"Do you want to talk to her or not?"

"I would like to hear you play the singing game with her, but we can let her go if this is a bad time."

"I'll ask." He went back to his call. "Hey beautiful, sorry about that. I was just talking to Ginny. Are we calling at a bad time?"

"Tell Ginny I said hi. We just had the most romantic evening ever. I'm so in love."

"Do you want us to let you go?"

"Brad is over at Hank and Beth's. I'm holding a grudge against her printer. She has a report to print and came over to ask if he would help her fix whatever is wrong with it."

"Sorry lady. He should have just said no."

"Do you want to hear what we did?"

"Is this conversation inappropriate? Ginny is here and I can't have her thinking that the only thing I do is hit on my brother's woman when he's helping the next door neighbor. I bet Beth would shag him given the chance."

"She totally would. But she would pretend like she doesn't want him the entire time. I fucked him on the dining room table."

"No way. In front of the window?"

"I moved the painting. Whoever said art is useless never thought to use it the way that we did."

"Wow. How did that start?"

"We were fighting about who had to do the dishes. I told him whoever had an orgasm first had to wash, dry, and put them away. He lost. Do you think he did that on purpose?"

"I have no idea. That's a tough one. I wouldn't have lost on purpose, but he doesn't mind doing the dishes as much as I do. What did you do to push him over the edge?"

"I'll have to ask him when he gets back. I screamed so loudly I think he has permanent hearing loss in both ears."

"I'm impressed. Good job."

"He probably thinks I have IQ trouble. The only thing I could say was his name and please."

"You really had sex on the dining room table? Wasn't that uncomfortable?"

"I really stretched out on the dining room table after I stripped for him. I sat on his lap when we were actually, you know, doing it. He sat in a chair. My back did go into the table, I laid on the table for a while, then I couldn't take it anymore. I was so close, I think I squeezed his head too hard. I was so mad at Beth when she rang the doorbell. We had just finished and his mouth was so pouty and sultry I almost had another orgasm just staring at it. I love his eyes when we're done. I just stare at them and get lost. She ruined my castle in the sky. We were in flipping seventh heaven and then bam, the doorbell rings. I'm never talking to her again."

"I don't blame you. Hey, not to change the subject, but Ginny was wondering if she could listen in on the singing game, if you're not up to playing, no big deal."

"I am a woman in love, and I'd do anything, to get you into my world, and hold you within."

"In love, there is, no measure of time."

"No truth is ever a lie, I stumble and fall, but I give you it all."

"How deep is your love?"

"Lady, I'm your knight in shining armor, and I love you. You have made me what I am, and I am yours."

"My love, there's so many ways, I want to say, I love you. Let me hold you in my arms, forevermore."

"She's like the wind through my trees. She rides the night, next to me."

"She leads me through moonlight, only to burn me, with the sun."

"She's taken my heart, but she doesn't know what she's done."

"Hold on Lana. Ginny wants us to stop."

"She's out of my league, just a fool to believe I am anything she needs, okay. But I was just getting warmed up, sorry."

"I know. She's just trying to understand the game and how it's played. Can she talk to you for a minute?"

"Of course. I feel her breath in my face, her body close to me, are you coming back to me?"

"She's like the wind. She's going to ask what you said, and then come back and see if my version agrees with what you said."

"Oh please. Really?"

"I guess. That's her plan at least."

"Take my breath away. Okay. I'll talk to her. Stick around. This won't take long and I want to tell you something."

"Tell me now. Sing it to me so Ginny can see how the game works."

"This one is too easy. Papa don't preach. I'm in trouble deep, but I made up my mind, I'm going to keep my baby."

"Holy fuck, are you really pregnant?"

"I was going to wait until he came back to tell you, but since you asked, how do you think I got him to have an orgasm that quickly? I'd never win that game under normal circumstances."

"Wow. Congrats. How did he take the news? Is that how you told him?"

"Yes."

"Wow. That's impressive. Is he, I take it he's happy?"

"I made him a shitty meal and he was still happy even though I undercooked the carrots and overcooked the green beans. I told him he's going to have to make meals for me from now on, I wanted everything to be so perfect too. Stupid kitchen appliances. There's something I want you to know, you're the love of my life, you're my lady."

"I just called, to say, I love you. I just called, to say, I care."

"No chocolate covered candy hearts to give away, no first of spring, no song to sing, in fact, it's just another, ordinary day."

"No wedding Saturday in the month of June. Are you two, you know, getting married or anything like that?"

"You think I'm going to keep living in sin like I have been? What kind of a woman do you think I am?"

"I've never had sex at the dining room table. Ever."

"You've never been pregnant either. You should try it sometime. Sex, not pregnancy."

"How are you feeling?"

"Queasy and tired. It's great."

"When are you going to tell other people?"

"Well I could have had a conversation about that with him except Beth came over with printer trouble. I think he already knew anyways."

"I wouldn't doubt that. Alll he has to do is go to his calendar and see when you last got your period."

"I'm not late yet."

"No kidding. How did you know then?"

"I just had a feeling. My boobs hurt and I don't mean like a little. They're so sensitive I told him he couldn't touch them the other night. He gave me a look, I think that hurt his feelings. I didn't mean to snap at him, it was just, normally he can touch them like that, but that night, there was no way. It hurt so much I could have started crying. My whole body feels different. We just had the best sex ever and it wasn't bad when we woke up this morning."

"I bet. Lucky guy. Lucky Lana. I'm happy for you."

"You sound sad."

"Nah. I'm just tired."

"Liar."

"I'm happy for both of you. I mean that."

"What's wrong then?"

"Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you."

"Can't you see, we've got everything, going on and on and on, every time you go, away, you take, a piece, of me, with you."

"I've been waiting, for a girl like you, to come into, my life."

"I want to know what love is, I want you to show me."

"When you love someone. It feels so right, so warm and true. I need to know, do you feel it too? Maybe I'm wrong, will you tell me if I'm coming on too strong? This heart of mine has been hurt before, this time, I want to be sure."

"He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good, he's a rebel and he never ever does what he should, but just because he doesn't do, whate everyone else does, that's no reason why, I can't give him all my love."

"Will you still love me, tomorrow?"

"He's always good to me, always treats me tenderly. He's no rebel, no no no. He's no rebel, to me. See the way he walks down the street, watch the way he shuffles his feet, he's always good to me, good to him I try to be, he's no rebel, no no no, he's no rebel, to me."

"He's a rebel and he'll never ever be, any good."

"I love him, I love him, I love him, and where he goes, I'll follow, I'll follow, I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go. There isn't an ocean too deep, a mountain so high it can keep, keep me away. He is my destiny."

"I need a dream lover, so I don't have to dream, alone."

"Every night, I hope and pray, a dream lover, will come, my way. Because I want, a girl, to call, my own, I want a dream lover, so I don't have to dream alone. Dream lover, where are you? With a love that's oh, so true?"

"Little darlin', oh little darlin', oh, where, are you? I love her, I was wrong, to try, to love you."

"My darling, I need you, to call my own, and never, do wrong, to hold in mine, your little hand, please, hold my hand. Oh, Brad is back. Walk like a man, talk like a man, walk like a man my son. Can I talk to you later?"

"Walk, walk, walk, can I talk to him for a second, never mind. I'll talk to you both later. I love you."

"We love you too Uncle Brent. We'll call you at some future point in time." She set her phone down, reached for her lover, and sighed into his shirt. "I love you so much. Brent called. I told him. Sorry."

"No worries. Beth needs a new printer. I think. I told her to call Ryan and get his opinion. Or Hank. He wasn't returning her calls or texts. I can't believe this. I get the best news of my life and my freaking neighbor lady bangs on the fucking window. What. The. Actual. Fuck."

"I think we took care of the fucking earlier."

"And I love you."

"Just what the truth is, I can't say anymore. Yes I love you, oh, how I love you. Ginny wanted to listen to us play the singing game. Gazing at people, some hand in hand, just what I'm going through, they can't understand."

"Some try to tell me, thoughts they cannot defend, just what you want to be, you will be in the end, yes, oh, how I love you. Are we going upstairs?"

"You still have to do the dishes. Sorry buddy."

"The dishes can wait."

"Brad Summerville, there are dirty dishes sitting on your counter and in your sink, what would your mother say?"

"I do not give a fuck. The dishes will be there tomorrow. I just want to hold you."

"Me and the baby. The baby says hi. I think Brent was sad tonight."

"I would be in his place."

"I think you should call him."

"I would really like to hang out with you."

"We have nine months of this. Please honey?"

"He's so demanding. No matter how much attention he gets, he still wants more."

"You're having the best day of your life. Share a little sunshine with him. Remember how it felt to be in pain and temporarily out of work? That's what he's going through now."

"Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea."

"All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see. Keep it short. Tell him you just wanted to say hi, you don't have to talk to him for long. He'll understand that we want to spend time together."

"Seriously, this is ridiculous."

"I know. It's totally out of line to expect someone who is overjoyed to stop and think about someone who is less fortunate."

"Fine. I'll call him. But you owe me."

"I'll make it up to you. Tonight. I'll wear whatever you want no matter how uncomfortable it is."

"What if I want you to wear, nothing?"

"I'll see if it's clean. Unless you want a repeat of the table and chair."

"I would accept round two and a repeat of the game for the same stakes."

"Sorry sweetie. You lost fair and square."

"Come on Lana, that wasn't fair and you know it."

"I never said I would play fair. You agreed to the terms and conditions."

"Next time we play cards for higher stakes."

"Card games. Yawn. You always win. Boring."

"You didn't think they were very boring the other night."

"That was an exception. I won."

"See? You can play cards too."

"You're right, I can. And you can call your brother. I'll be upstairs listening to the sounds of dishes being washed to perfection and dried to a high polish. Goodnight."

"You're going to bed already?"

"I had an early morning. Remember? Wake up and it's still with you. Wondering to yourself, hey, what have I found?"

"When you get caught between the moon, and New York City, the best that you can do, is fall in love. I love you Lana Renee. I'll call Brent if you do the dishes."

"Not part of the deal. I love you too. I'm not going to bed, I'm going to take a bath. Come hang out with me when you're, ready."

"I love how you can make one word sound so naughty."

"See what happens when you cooperate with my plan?"

"I think I'm being unfairly, what?"

"Nothing. You were saying?"

"You are so bad. I love it. Fine. You win this time. I was just going to say that I get a bad rap for being who I am, but you are ten times, a hundred times worse than me. You're lucky I'm the understanding type."

"Just for that I'll stay down here and talk to you while you do the dishes and talk to Brent. How does that sound?"

"Better. Thank you."

"I might have to blow you after you're done drying the last dish."

"I might be up for that. We'll have to see how both of us feel, later."

"You better not snap dishtowels at me."

"You better not try wearing them and pretending they're clothes. Okay, fine. I'll call him and talk to him while I do the damn dishes. I'm never agreeing to any of your games ever again."

"Until tomorrow. You seemed to like tonight's version. I had fun too. It's a lot of work to sit at home all day and think up sex games that will keep you interested."

"Not a challenge. Sorry."

"Yes it is. You don't know how much pressure is on me."

"Like I'm going to dislike a game where sex is the goal. Please."

"I can't count on that." She said as she stretched and yawned. "Come on lover boy, hop to it. These dishes won't do themselves."

"I will marry you. I would right now if I could."

"What? There's no plan. We can't just rush into this. We need to get ideas together, brainstorm, plot, coordinate our schedules, consult the calendar, buy clothes, do hair, inform others. We need a list. I think you should be in charge of that. You should be in charge of everything. I'll just screw it up, thanks in advance for your tireless work."

"Very nice. I like how you take my life and say, to hell with it, we're doing things my way."

"You get your way too often at work. It's good for you to get a challenge when you come home."

"I would like to debate this further."

"I would, but I'm tired. I'll have to sit down, being pregnant is hard work. I'm exhausted."

"I bet. Tired from napping and thinking up games to play? Fine. The discussion is tabled for now. I will do the dishes. I will call Brent. Go take your bath. Get ready for bed. Let me know when you're crawling beneath the sheets. Tonight my plans include, I'll reserve that. You can be surprised."

"Can I get a kiss before I go upstairs?"

"No. I kiss you and none of this is getting done."

"You're mean. Fine. I'll go upstairs by myself. Sadness."

"Realism. You get naked and you're mine again."

"I'm always yours. I am a woman in love, and I'm talking to you, I know how you feel, it's a right I defend, over and over again. Any complaints?"

"None whatsoever." He said as he kissed her forehead. "I'll see you in a few."

***

Me: "I'm really sad."

Her: "You don't seem it. You seem better than you have in a long time."

Me: "Really?"

Her: "Yes, you were smiling at me earlier. You don't seem sad at all. What's the matter?"

Me: "I was at the art studio and now I can see little paintings on top of other people's heads that depict their problems. It's scary."

Her: "That's deep. What's on top of my head?"

Me: "Nothing. I can't do it with everyone. Just certain people. It's trapped art. They might not even know it's trapped. I might not know it either. Maybe I'm just going insane."

Her: "I'm superficial. I wish I could say I know how you feel, but I almost never feel that way. I don't know what to tell you. You don't seem like you're in a bad mood though. You seem like you're in a teriffic mood. Like when I was in produce, you were beaming at me."

The conversation isn't going anywhere so I wrap it up and walk away feeling worse than I did. Even worse than people who can read my feelings are the people who don't believe me when I do tell them I'm feeling a certain way.

***

Me: "Hey, can I talk to you about something."

Him: "Sure, what's up?"

Me: "I'm super sad, I feel like I might burst into tears."

Him: "Sorry bud. What's going on?"

Me: "Nothing. I'm just, I don't know how to explain it. I'm not in a bad mood. I'm just incredibly sad tonight. I want to go home. But I can't."

Him: "Hang in there, we're almost done."

***

Me: "Hi, sorry to bug you, can I tell you something?"

Her: "Sure. What do you need?"

Me: "I'm really sad, I think I might start crying and I don't want to be in tears on the sales floor. Nothing happened, I'm not in a bad mood, I'm just very sad."

She gives me a big hug, then she takes me around the corner. "Are you sure everything is okay?"

Me: "I'm learning how to paint. I went driving with my daughter, I saw some really dark images, they turned into paintings while she was driving, then I started connecting them with people I know. Now I can't stop seeing them and I thought it would go away, and it's getting worse and not better and it's just, kind of freaking me out."

She doesn't know what to say to this, I realize how completely freaking crazy this has to sound to a normal person, but she does give me a hug and tells me I can stay in the kitchen for a while and I'm so incredly grateful I almost start crying, but I manage to leave and go back to my department.

***

Yesterday I went to try and fix my mermaid picture. I thought they would be upset, but they said that they weren't. But maybe they were anyways. I don't know. I start with paints other people have left. This is a mistake, but I don't know it at the time. I paint over their paints and then my painting is so boring I can't stand it. I put clouds in the sky, and try to make some mountains, this turns out okay, I keep going until I think it's time to leave. It's not, but I want to respect their time, and by now my brain is fried. I learned how to do diamonds and I was excited when my edges were crisper. Then I went and ruined them all, but I didn't care. I was having fun learning. I drove home, then I realized I had to pick up Jill from work. She asked if she could drive, I thought this would be a good time to practice, so I said yes even though I was tired. Pretty soon we're on our way to Milwaukee and I learn she's never driven there before. 

I try to keep calm. She wants to change the radio station and I try to explain that I need the music. She's wide awake, I'm tired and anxious, but trying to chill out, I decide to think about paintings I would like to do. All of a sudden I see red lines and as I watch they become blood in someone else's veins. This becomes a painting, but don't ask me how. I see someone's left hand and then I know who it belongs to, my daughter is driving, she's singing loudly, and I'm trying not to flip out because by now I'm really scared. I see a painting of buises and I think about battered women. I try to think about anything else. I look out my window, see Miller Park, and make a lame baseball joke, but she couldn't care less and then she tells me she's getting off at the next exit. The deserted ballpark is in front of me and I'm trying not to burst into tears. I desperately wish a friend would call or text, I tell Jill's dad she's driving in Milwaukee and then I think about how pathetic that is, but I don't really care. 

I go to bed and can't remember any of my dreams which is fine. I wake up, go for a drive, come back, and start writing. I wrote something really awful, I can tell something is bothering me, but I don't know what it is until I see a black painting with the company logo on it. I see my former PTs face and then I realize that I could give it to him. The painting shrinks, I think about the owner of the company, all of these cool painting ideas I had last night are gone and only these very dark and depressing ones remain. It's like I can conceptualize a major problem in someone else's life, turn it into a painting, and then give it to them with instructions to destroy it once the problem has been solved. I realize art can be used to hurt someone else, and then I know why I have so much trouble creating for certain people at a specific time. It has to have an emotional appeal. 

All of a sudden my fun new hobby has taken a turn for the worse, I want to go home and get rid of everything I've painted, even the cheery picture for my niece. I'm shocked because the piece I did last night was kind of sweet and innocent, it's nothing fabulous, but it's not terrible either. I suddenly feel like I'm living in some sort of twisted movie where I give people paintings and they suck life out of them or invite disaster into their lives. I want to call the people who have things I've done and tell them to toss whatever they have, but then I'm afraid I'll have to explain this to them, and they'll think I'm mentally unstable, which to be honest, I'm kind of wondering about right now. There's a guy at work, all I have to do is think about him and suddenly I have all sorts of artistic inspiration which is strange to me because I can't remember ever talking to art with him.

Last night I was doing this picture, it wasn't going well, I thought about him, not really on purpose, I was just going through people in my head, as soon as I thought about him, my whole painting changed. It was wild and interesting, but also very unsettling. The woman who owns the art studio told me she's enjoyed watching my art change, I felt very awkward about that, I felt like I had to get out of there fast, I drove around for a while just thinking, I had all this art and music inside of my head. I had told her about failing seventh grade art and how I had art trapped inside of me that I was finally accessing, I wanted to cry, couldn't, and still can't. I made it through work, one of the guys who was sick yesterday was in today. I had an interesting conversation with him. I told him I was glad he was still alive, he asked if I had read the note he had written and I'm like, um, no? He said he had written that he wasn't dead, that kind of bothered me, but I didn't know why, and still don't. 

A guy I can't stand was sent over from the front end to help face in grocery. I was so scared to be by myself I went over by him. We started talking about coffee, we got onto the MBTI tests, I learned that he's an INTP and now I'm revising everything I thought was true about these types because he's cruel and mean and he's that way on purpose and he likes being that way!!! I hate that about him. He gave me a look when I told him that I've gotten the INTJ label, I have some INTP traits and then I wondered if that's how people view me. I tried steering the conversation in another direction, but then he was telling me about other people he knows, I try to make a comment about people whose types I know or think I know. He tells me another woman I can't stand might be an INTP and then I was really over talking to him, but then we were talking about the front end manager and that was a bit better.

There are people who remind me of each other, all of a sudden I can see things I didn't before. There's a woman and a man that I work with, and I wondered if they were the same type, I want to ask what he thinks, but then he's telling me more about the front end manager. He tells me about other INFJ types he knows, I listen to his argument, he wonders about her, I tell him what I think, but it doesn't seem as if he's really listening to me. Something he said has got me thinking, I think about people I know, this woman, my daughter who is an INFJ, my sister, one of my characters, another one, I think about what people are good at, how they dress, what they say, what seems to be important to them, how they treat me versus how they treat others. I have a cheat sheet so I can tell people's types at a glance, it's not terribly accurate, but it's a place to start, I didn't like the labels whoever created this system used, so I started coming up with my own. This is an exaggeration, I joke about doing away with people, and I am frequently annoyed by inefficiencies, but hopefully everyone knows that I would not actually kill anyone no matter how angry and upset I may be.

The problem is I do care. When I stop caring, people are in more trouble than they are if I'm mad. If I'm mad, I still care. If I stop talking to someone, ignore them, or am polite, then they're on my list and I'm distancing myself, usually for my own protection; either because I'm angry, I no longer feel that they're trustworthy, or we are no longer on good terms, usually because they violated some principle of mine. Tonight one of the guys who works in produce asked if I wanted some bananas, I could not get away from him fast enough. He scares me, not in a creepy way, I don't know how to explain it. I'm highly uncomfortable talking to him and he seems not to get this. He asked how I was twice and I'm like, did you not listen to me the first time I told you? I would love to ignore him, but that's hurtful and he hasn't really done anything wrong. Most of the time when I ignore people; I'm either enraged beyond belief, or they're scaring the fuck out of me. Some people are just not worth getting upset about. When I was talking to that guy who works in the front end he said I don't seem like a judging type.

I assured him that I was, I've just learned how to choose my battles better. He tells me that he had an INTJ roommate when he was in college and he started getting under this other person's skin, and I was like, wow, no kidding, you being annoying and someone not liking to live with you, imagine that... I felt like I was being bitchy to him, but then I realized at least I wasn't bursting into tears so that was some small comfort. While he was talking I had people whirling around in my head. He talks fast, I have to think through things. I can make decisions quickly, but when I can take my time, I like to really think things through, and he wasn't giving me that kind of time. I think the front end manager is an INTJ, but she could be an INFJ. The main reason I think she isn't is because she reminds me quite a bit of myself, and I realize that's flimsy reasoning, I could be wrong, I think I was super wrong about one of the guys I work with and now I feel absolutely terrible about the way I treated him because I think he's an INFJ, and if he is, like I said, I already feel terrible, I don't know what more I can do to show that I'm bitterly sorry. 

I make a lot of mistakes. Being smart doesn't mean you never make mistakes, it means you're extremely hard on yourself when you do, because you think you should have known better, there's no forgiveness from others, and none for yourself. I scared someone I work with and that feels awful to me. I hate being scared, I hate being lonely, I hate working by myself when someone else hasn't done their job and having to pick up their slack. I hate how the HR manager walks around, I didn't talk to her much today, the first time she let it go, then she came up to me and tried talking to me so I tried to be polite. Talking to her feels so fake and icky, I feel like I have to play her game or get more crap from her. She's always watching people and I know I'm not one of her favorites which is fine with me. They like people who aren't good at their jobs so I'm fine with their level of disapproval, but it's hard to work without any praise or encouragement when my manager isn't there.

I was going to ask if I could move to another department and now I'm rethinking that. I don't want to leave her. I don't want her to have to deal with these horrible people by herself. I want to make her life better in any small way that I can, even if that means I put up with a couple hours of crap on a weekly basis. I went over by the cards to straighten those out, I pulled the Hanukah cards because it's about time someone did, I read a bunch of cards and then I wanted to buy them for all my friends so they would know how much I love them. I feel misunderstood. I feel like when I try to tell people things they don't listen, and if I don't say anything they operate under wrong assumptions about me. I try very hard to do the best job that I can at work. I may not be fabulous about determining what others are feeling, but I can tell when things seem off like with this guy who came in to talk to me tonight.

I listened to this little Italian guy talk to me for a while, a guy with lead poisoning was in with his friends, I was so ready to walk out the door today. None of my favorite people were working up front, I was freezing cold, I was scared, lonely, sad, and I know I was just having a day, but it felt worse to me and then that was annoying because I feel like I'm a grown woman and I should stop feeling like a scared child so much of the time. I missed my youngest daughter, my stomach started hurting and I wondered how much of that was stress induced. I just wanted to feel loved so I came home and wrote what you just read above this. I figured if I can't have the relationship that I want, someone else might as well be able to, this is why I love fiction, I can take my problems and spin them in different ways. I can see all sides and all views, it helped. By the time I was done I was a lot less worried about what I'm calling the tiny painting problem. 

I can just imagine what would happen if I told some of these people what I could see over their heads. I don't think that this is something I want to tell a lot of people. I thought about telling my unicorn friend, but I didn't. Sometimes (most times) she doesn't text me back. I tell her certain things because I want to tell someone, I don't always need a response, but then there are times when I'm like, why am I bothering when I apparently care more than she does? I don't really hold back when I text her, part of me just wants to let go, but I know she does care at some level and I know that I'm probably just really tired and cutting even more people out of my life because I feel like I just can't deal anymore is probably not really the solution, it just seems like life would be less messy and complicated if I did. Maybe I'll just go be a hermit and contemplate the tiny floating paintings for the rest of my life. Maybe I really am going totally insane. Pretty soon I'll be cutting pieces of my ear off and get banned from the art studio for self mutilation and detachment from reality.

I don't know if art is the problem, the solution, or both. I remember when this happened with fiction. All of a sudden I was in this guy's head and I didn't like what I was seeing, but then I thought, this is it, this is the depth I didn't have earlier. Real people do have some unpleasant thoughts, that's a part of life. If he's contemplating suicide, then to gloss over that would be inauthentic and that comes across in writing whether people believe that or not. I'm going to text my therapist and see if I can move up my appointment. This feels like it could be some sort of minor crisis situation, and I really don't want that. I can just picture people telling others that I went off the deep end because I painted a fluffly pink diamond in the sky. I hate that painting now and I was so proud of it the other night. I hate it when things I didn't expect to be my undoing become instrumental in me coming undone. That song was on tonight at work, it was a rough night. I don't have to work tomorrow. I almost bought a bottle of champagne so Jill and I could have mimosas, but then I told myself to leave it alone because alcohol, sadness, depression, potential insanity (I know I'm not really insane, in some ways it would be better if I was just off my rocker completely), despair, and a low mood with a lot of unstable restless energy is a recipe for bad things happening to Jessica.

I don't want anyone to worry. I'm going to take it easy tomorrow. I think I'm dealing with some emotions that came up while I was painting, this is usually very scary for me, it's next level thinking that I couldn't have predicted, I know it's a step forward, in a way, maybe it's actually kind of a cool gift to see the tiny paintings. So far I can only see three of them, maybe this is a sign that I should ditch art and go back to knitting, my mom sent me an article from the Washington Post that said this may offer future health benefits. It made me feel like she was discounting painting entirely and trying to push her knitting agenda on me, but maybe she's right. I don't know anything anymore, maybe I never knew anything. Art is an expensive hobby, if it's a threat to my mental health I will stop entirely, I just can't risk that. Maybe I just did too much too soon, maybe the tiny paintings will disappear on their own, maybe happier ones will take their place, maybe this whole thing will blow over and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of my adult life. It could happen. And I have the power to change my future so all is not lost. It never is, even when it seems that way.

Take care,

Jessica

P.S. Tiny Paintings is a good book or poem title I think. I bitterly regret ever giving that guy that poem, not because I got into trouble for it, because messing with someone else's mind is so dangerous. From now on I'll be mindful to play armchair psychologist with my fictional characters. They can handle it much better than real live people. I can't even imagine what would have happened if he really would have gone through with it and people would have found that poem. Now I'm praying so hard that he tossed it, I may have been permanently cured of writing emotionally charged poetry and giving it to others, sometimes I don't know what is wrong with me...

***

Me: "Sure, I'll just waltz into work and ask if I can get a picture of the underside of his wrist so I can see his veins. He can hang his painting in the bathroom, right next to the cabinet where the razor blades are stored. Then when people find him laying in a blood splattered bathroom, they'll ask who the fuck gave him the painting that sent him over the edge."

Him: "Stop it. I wasn't suggesting that and you know it. You even said you thought he was doing better."

Me: "What the fuck do I know? Not how others are feeling, that's for damn sure. I'm sorry, I'm just very upset. Let's pick this conversation up later, I really just need to be alone for a while."

Him: "Are you okay?"

Me: "Not really. But I'm not going to kill myself either. This is just, temporary."

Him: "Are you sure?"

Me: "I'm not sure of anything anymore. I painted myself into a world of hurt, that's all I know right now. Cocaine would have been a better habit to start. At least then I'd be in a better mood."

Him: "Go take a bath. Get some sleep. Call or text if you need anything. I'll be around."

Me: "Thank you. I really appreciate that."

Him: "You're welcome. People care Jessica. They really do."

Me: "I know. It just doesn't feel like it right now. But I really am okay. I would tell you if I wasn't. No lie."

Him: "I believe you. Goodnight Jessica."

Me: "Goodnight. Thanks for listening. That helps. A lot."

Him: "Anytime."

***

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