Saturday, October 06, 2007

Letting it go

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, but I’m not in the mood for Thanksgiving. It’s a bright afternoon outdoors, with the sky a pale blue, washed out by a blinding sun. I just found it so hard to get out of bed. If it weren’t for hungry kitty tummies, I would have stayed in bed all day.

My brain is telling me to take deep breaths. It’s telling me that things aren’t so bad, that I have it good. But, somehow, I remain unreassured. I don’t think I need to be told that I have nothing to mope about. The point is, I am moping, despite my desire to send my melancholy far away with the magical snap of my fingers.

I’ve been looking at the works of photographer/writer Pierpaolo Mittica, who has dedicated his life to documenting the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident twenty-one years later. I’m haunted by the image of nine-year-old Eugenia: She lies in the oncology ward of the children’s hospital in Minsk. Her eyes are vacant, ravaged by leukaemia. Her head is wrapped in a kerchief, covering her lack of hair. In one hand, she holds a photograph of herself, of her pig-tailed, smiling self in a plaid jumper. The disease has aged her, has emptied her of childhood joys. I first saw this photograph months ago, but I found myself searching it out in recent days. I keep staring at Eugenia’s eyes, trying to find light in them still.

I’m haunted by other images too, by other sensations. At night, I dream that I’m running after someone, desperately wanting to be heard and held, but to no avail. I lie awake wondering what’s wrong with me, and why I’m the one doing the chasing. Maybe if I stopped for a moment, I would no longer be panicked and out of breath. I might find myself feeling utterly alone, but at least I would find myself. And maybe I would be able to embrace my sadness, and perchance let it go.

1 comment:

  1. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving all the same. I dream that I'm being chased, and it's not any better, believe me.