Today’s post is sponsored by Duke, who on “suggestion box” day suggested “Be Careful What You Wish For”. Since I’m a self-professed expert on the subject, I thought I’d begin my Topic Tuesday with this one (btw, there is no Topic Tuesday unless it looks like I happen to have a new topic on Tuesdays in a regular pattern, which everybody knows won’t happen). Problem is where do I start? I have so many tales of woeful wishing gone bad, I just don’t know which to choose.
I previously addressed the perils of wishes in one of my published stories, The Bionic Cat, right in the very first sentence: Someone who must’ve experienced a similar cat developed the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” The story—true but with some fantastical embellishments—reminisces the time I finally got the cat I yearned for all of my nine years. The cat, as it turned out to be, was the screaming, heaving cat from hell. But since I already told that story (link is inside my publication page above if you haven’t read it yet), today’s wish-gone-bad goes to, “I wish I could stay in one place and never have to move again”.
I wished that when moving was a recurring nightmare. I moved so often as a child that I trained myself to avoid friendships or anything else I’d later have to say goodbye to. At eighteen I moved out but couldn’t shake the curse of transitory living. If I could just stay in one place. Well, long story short I later moved to a place I DO NOT LIKE and stayed. The minute it became too much—five minutes after arriving—I began planning my exit.
EIGHTEEN YEARS LATER AND I’M STILL HERE.
Did you hear that folks? (you should have, I screamed it) Eighteen years in a place that is completely incompatible with every thread of my being.
I never experienced SAD (seasonal depression) until I moved here. And every winter it worsens. It attacks me physically as well as mentally. On my tenth year here, I had seventeen colds from October to April. It was at the tail end of my three-year treatment of allergy shots—a prerequisite for living here. My allergist had just moved here from Barbados when I began treatment. When I finished he was on his way out, back to Barbados where he doesn’t “feel sick all the time,” he said. Lucky him, to be able to just pick up and leave. Why can’t I? What is my anchor? Presently, I have more to anchor me than I did then or eighteen years ago. I should’ve escaped when I had the chance.
Fresno isn’t that bad, really. We two are just not compatible that’s all. I feel like a tropical bird removed from its habitat—my husband calls me a reptile, whatever—I can’t take the cold, the frigid, frigid cold. The three months of fog. The grey, cold wet blanket of fog, impenetrable of sun rays and warmth. I joke that to escape the cold, we go to the snow. Only I’m serious. We get in the car and drive an hour straight up until we are deep in the snow and the sunshine and we soak it up and head back down again. From the mountain, looking down on the valley, it looks like an ocean or vast lake. You would never know that underneath that ominous cloud blanket lies a city of half million bathed in sepia tone.
The lively conversation in the car winds down along with our descent, and when we enter the curtain of darkness, the darkness that will last long enough to drive a sane person mad, we stop talking altogether. We just entered something akin to the Twilight Zone.
Suddenly my worries return to me: my fears, insecurities, self-doubt. Then comes the pain. My back hurts; I have a headache; my energy wanes.
I grow weary. I want to claw myself out.
I don’t write much in these months because I’m too cold. Our heat vents are located above doorways. Once I placed a space heater near the computer and it blew a circuit breaker. I overdress—picture the kid Randy from Christmas Story—bundled and uncomfortably so. But my hands and face are so cold I keep moving to keep from freezing to death. Yes, I’m cold blooded, I’m a tropical species, remember? (a parrot or a toucan, not a reptile, dagnabbit.)
I know what you northerners are thinking: Well cry me a river. But a visiting relative from Minnesota validated my chronic complaint by claiming she “feels” colder here than there where thermometer readings drop below zero.
I long to be where I was before moving here. The place calls to me, a calling from otherworld, and I’m powerless to answer. It calls to me now, eighteen years and counting, and I wish it away but worry it’ll stop.
Have you been burned by a wish? Has something turned its tables on you in ways you had not fathomed? A relationship? A dream job? A cat, maybe? 🙂 All once a dream and now a nightmare?
P.S. To keep my spirits up, I replaced my theme picture to the Hawaiian beach we visited last summer.