April 30, 2002
If confession is indeed good for the soul, then I should be feeling much lighter by the time you read this. I am not one to readily share my flaws, preferring to maintain that invincible façade. A façade that is so easily penetrated in private moments when those I love and respect are not witnesses to my weaknesses.
This morning, I woke up later than usual. Ron had to go to his “new university” to observe one more time, the teacher he will be replacing. He really did not need to, he chose to so that he could be prepared for all of new faces he will be standing in front of come fall.
I am not sure if it was the additional sleep or the dreams from the night’s slumber that put me in a strange frame of mind. The morning was a restless one and although it was only Monday morning, I knew that my student this afternoon would be canceling his class. This would leave me free all day without obligations; not needing to be anywhere. I could stay in the nest all day. Why things turned out the way they did, I will never know. My mind never stops. Thinking, thinking, all of the time, the thoughts, and ideas are a constant stream. Many times, I wake tired because my mind was so active the previous night, when my body was expecting rest. I ever have a day like this again, someone had better strap me down or lock me in a closet with no windows until the mood passes. Questions flooded over me all day, but answers never followed.
Living in Budapest should be enough of excitement for anyone, but I was not feeling content. What seemed like years of build up was sitting on the surface, but knowing that was a gross exaggeration, I decided that months were not an unreasonable assumption. My view was being filtered and I could not live with it any longer. As much as we love this apartment, there are things that I cannot live with. It seemed like the perfect time to do something drastic, after all, Ron was not home. I was alone. I had privacy, no one to distract me, no one try and talk me out of it.
I hate getting high, but today, I knew there was no way of accomplishing my goal without it. If I did not do it, no one else would do the things that I needed to make myself happy. That old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself”, was so true in this situation. Once I had decided on what needed to be done, I gathered the necessary things and set them out. Some things were left here by the daughter of the landlord. They were not too difficult to find. Other things I was able to find around town. Funny how some things are easier to find than others, but that is always the way it is. Isn’t it?
Just as I was ready, Ron walked in. He was home early than either of us expected. He looked around at the things that I had set out. At first, he never said a word, but I could see the thoughts meandering through his mind like one of those signs you see in bars. The words go flashing by in bright little lights that spell out the words. The words that I could see flashing in his mind were “Why do you have to do this today? I do not want any part of this.” What he managed to utter was “I am going to take a rest.” I could not read his face. There was no sign of approval or disapproval, just resignation.
I am going to get high and he does not care. I had a moment of anger at his lack of concern. He knows how much I hate it. He knows I avoid it for as long as I can, he did not seem interested in helping me make things better without my taking desperate measures. Sure there have been times when I succumbed to peer pressure, sometimes his, and have gone to limits that I never could or would have attempted on my own. Sometimes, it was good, but most of the time I experienced more fear than I ever thought imaginable. This time I was on my own. I had to get up and I had to do it by myself. We know many people who get high every chance they get for many different reasons. They like living on the edge. I do not like it at all, I just need to do it sometimes.
Other fears wormed their way into the whole scenario too. When I am high, I have little control, my balance is off, I do not think rationally, and I panic easily. What if I lost my balance and smashed through a window? Crazy thoughts rushed through my head like they always do during times like this. The irrational cycle spins on and on and does not stop until the whole thing comes to an end when I am once again grounded and safe until next time. I never think there will be a next time, until it confronts me once again and I am faced with my demons one more time. I hate being weak!
Once I was up, nothing was like it seemed it should be, but of course that is always the way it is, isn’t it. Sometimes it was worse than I expected it to be and at moments, I was pleasantly surprised to see that things were not as awful as I had imagined they would be. It did not stop my knees from shaking or my fears of going head first flying through the air of four floors. At times, my hands went grabbing the air, searching for something to hold on to, to support me and give me reassurance that I was going to be alright.
The worst part of the whole ordeal was going up and down, up and down. I thought I had it planned well enough that I would not have the down times as often as I did, but there were more than I had expected. That is what was the most wearing part of the whole thing. After the first three hours, the school called to say that my student had just called to cancel. I knew that was going to happen all morning, but I was grateful for the confirmation and their timing. I happened to be down at the time the phone rang. If I were not, it would have been more than disturbing. If I had to leave the house before this was all over, it would have been a disaster for sure. Had I been smarter, I would have had the mobile phone clipped to my pocket in case I got into trouble or hurt myself, but whom would I call, 911? Hardly!
It took six hours before the whole thing was over. Never had I anticipated six hours. Perhaps it is a blessing that that never occurred to me. If it had, I would probably never have started and I would still be a malcontent. Will I pay for this tomorrow? I am sure I will. I am sure my body will remind me that I am not as limber as I once was and cannot do the things that I used to do without paying the price. It is something that I hate, but I knew I could not stand for it. I had to get high.
So friends, now I have confessed. Seeing the words on the computer screen has not helped yet. Maybe, just maybe after this is mailed out to you and I know that I cannot reach in and snatch it back, knowing that my secret is out; I will feel the conversion that comes from admitting your imperfections.
Never again will I wash 42 windows in one day, especially the high ones. Getting high on that damn ladder is just as scary to me as riding the chairlift in Innsbruck. Even the second step makes me shaky, so the next time the windows need washing, I will horsewhip Ron into doing it or put an ad in the paper. By the way, if you happened to think that I was confessing anything other than my fear of heights, you ought to be ashamed thinking that I could mean anything else.