Diane was first in line at the traffic lights. She sat in her small silver sedan looking intently ahead at the red light blocking her way, waiting impatiently for it to turn green so she could continue her journey home. I thought ‘home’ was where the ‘heart’ is she mused. Not anymore! Her mind reacted to her current place of abode. That was all it took to unleash the spate of tears she’d been holding onto all afternoon.
“Damn!” she muttered, wondering why they couldn’t have waited till later, although she already knew why that was. It was Friday afternoon and she was facing another long and lonely weekend. Not many times in her life had she contemplated work being better than time off, but this was definitely one of them. There was some sort of perverted solace in having her mind occupied, far better than trying to keep it away from the source of her sadness and heartache. She let her head slump forward onto the steering wheel hoping the people in the cars either side remained unaware of her dismay, making her question why that was. After all, wasn’t she the first to speak up about not being concerned at what others thought!
“Come on,” she said out loud to the inanimate objects in charge of traffic flow, although she was well aware nothing would alter their preordained order. Just this once let the through traffic go first, she silently pleaded. At least it was time for the cross conveyance, she tried to address her irritability. Next it would be the turning vehicles, and then it would be her turn. “C’mon, c’mon.” She reached into her handbag for a fist of crumpled tissues to dry the unstoppable tears that ran unchecked down her cheeks in a continual stream even while she was wiping them away.
Tapping her fingers brusquely on the steering wheel did little to help take her mind from her woes. Friday night and no man in sight! I don’t want a man she countered her mind talk, even though that wasn’t entirely true. It was true in the sense that she didn’t want any man; it was a particular one that she was interested in; he who was the cause of her inner turmoil. And he didn’t want her, so that was that! Another tirade of tears let loose, this time she needed to reach behind the seat to locate an unopened box of tissues to replenish her supply. Of course, being fully occupied, the lights changed, much to the annoyance of the drivers of the cars immediately behind who let her know with the beeping of horns that it was finally their move.
Through streaming tears, Diane continued her journey, lucky enough to complete it without being held up again. She’d been hoping her housemates would be home by the time she got there, forcing her to control her grief to at least a socially acceptable level, but on this occasion, it wasn’t the case. Without a stimulus to stop, her salty sadness silently, though unceasingly, expressed itself. Finally giving in to the overwhelming mental pain she lay on the bed and cried, albeit as quietly as possible.
Let it rip her mind decreed, but it was not like her to wallow in self-pity to that degree. Stop fighting; totally give in to it, it implored. No! She refused to let it rule her. Don’t you realise that’s exactly what it’s doing, her thinking bit explained. You have no control over these emotions. Be honest! Why can’t you leave me alone when I’m in so much pain? She pleaded. Not until you accept reality and transform this situation.
Okay, okay, I give Diane finally relented. For the first time since Daniel told her he was in love with someone else and that their relationship was over, she accepted her grief and allowed it to be instead of trying to deny it. The emotion took over her whole being, and her body was racked by sobs so deep they seemed to emanate from her soul. She was aware of the ruckus she was making and although conscious of it, once started, couldn’t stop. Still sobbing, she continued to seesaw between heartache and sanity, listening to and experiencing her sounds of sorrow.
Then something snapped. Had enough? No! Part of me is enjoying this release. It’s your choice when, but this too must end. But: where to from here? When you reach rock bottom there is only one direction!
While the tears continued to tumble down her cheeks and run off her chin to join the collection that had preceded them, Diane brought to mind the countless workshops she’d attended and the multitude of books she’d read about the art of positive thinking, and her perspective began to change. That information and knowledge is a lot easier to understand and implement when you’re not dealing with a catastrophe, she thought. This isn’t a catastrophe; it’s a choice! Between? Pleasure and pain. My choice is pleasure. Then change your mind. How? Stop concentrating on what’s over and focus your attention on what you want in the future.
Diane’s bawling almost ceased, it was a good idea but could she do it? She began to visualise the cute guy from Administration, the one she’d secretly admired even when she was with Daniel, the one who was always flirting with her, the one she’d felt she needed to discourage because of her relationship with Daniel, and her quivering lips began to crease into a smile.
Without missing a beat her perspective began to change, manifesting within a change of heart, the anguish transforming itself correspondingly and like magic her sobbing ceased, unleashing the laughter that had temporarily disappeared in the darkness of her previous pain. Her joy echoed through the empty household in recognition that she had the inner strength to do what had to be done. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!