I was indistinguishable from other humans even in close quarters.  I was talking to people and laughing.  I found out what they did and talked about our coffee and coffeeshop.  It was your typical local networking group but overall rather low-key, relaxed and interesting.  It was the type of evening I always enjoy but tonight it was a struggle.  No one could tell I was rotting inside.

I have spent my life trying to be genuine, honest, direct, truthful.  But now I am living a lie.  Suddenly I find myself deceptive, evasive, calculating and misleading.  It is not out of malice, though, nor for personal gain.  Unless, of course, you count ‘personal gain’ as trying to avoid being in pain all the time.  If so, then yes.  I am lying to avoid pain.  Lying to myself, to my wife, to the World, to anyone that asks.

I am lying when I say I’m fine.  There is a low-grade terror that burbles in the background of my life, now.  It is that oh-shit oh-shit oh-shit cascade that precedes moments of near disaster.

That feeling is constant, now.

The scary thing is, I’m getting used to it.  When my gut drops and I start to sweat for no good reason, that’s no biggie anymore.  When my head feels like it could split to shards because of a stray ray of sunlight, that’s fine.  With shallow breath and dilated pupils I wallow in the terror.  Sometimes I even laugh at it, sneer at it, dismiss it out of hand as something beneath my regard.

I can hold it all inside me and yet still somehow take that next step, meet that new person, bury my head in a batch of fresh roasted coffee, eat that great meal or share a belly laugh and ignore the calculated deceptiveness of my manufactured ease.

We do things because we remember that we used to like them.  Yes!  Dinner!  We liked going out to dinner!  Let’s do that!  Or, okay, yeah, a walk in the woods.  That’s ‘fun’, right?  We enjoyed that back when enjoying things was actually enjoyable.  We should do that, shouldn’t we?

We should and we will.  Sometimes we will tell each other how much fun we are having but in one another’s eyes we can see the lies.  It is our secret, though, our Silas.  He lies between us always, connecting us to one another despite time and space, in grief and in happiness, awake or asleep, he is always in our hearts, our souls, our minds.  And that will always be true.