I seem to be slipping into grayspace.

The kind of place where I fall into stories that aren’t my own only to realize that hours have passed. Where I make tea and my first sip is warm and sweet and the second is stale and cold. I sit down at the computer and stare at the faces of half-finished stories and my fingers remain silent. Even these words right now are like pulls of taffy, an almost painful scraping from the black spaces in my chest and the fogged corners of my mind.

I know this feeling. It’s been some time, but there was a Saturday two weeks ago that I collapsed onto my bed at three in the afternoon and cried until nightfall and I had no reasons why except there was an ocean inside my chest that was spilling over. A blackness beneath that is unfathomable and cold and a pain that’s so wide and deep it’s almost soft, a pain that aches like a memory and weighs down my bones and sings me to sleep.

I don’t want to be pulled under again. It’s been ten years since I’ve drowned and, while I’m resting on the surface of the waves right now, it can take only a moment until I sink beneath.

I know how to swim this time. I know what it takes to keep me from being sucked out to sea, keep me from being dragged by the undertow. I am stronger and more settled than I’ve ever been and I know if it happens that I can reach out my hand and break the surface.

(What haunts me is the way this familiar pain seeps into these empty spaces and it’s like coming home.)


Published by Ren Martinez

Ren is a thirty-something Lost Boy whose personal aesthetic is “suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She subscribes to cheerful nihilism, the destruction of the patriarchy, and the belief that glitter makes everything better. She is a Richmond-based writer and performer who has fiction and non-fiction work found in a variety of publications, such as The Mary Sue, RVA Magazine, The Quotable, and Nostrovia Press. She is currently the fiction editor and a regular contributor at Quail Bell Magazine. She is also the co-host of the podcast, This F***ing Guy! Find out more at renmartinez.com or read her dumbass tweets on Twitter @itsrenmartinez

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