Some days you can deal with the very real possibility of being foreclosed on and subsequently evicted from your dream home. You can talk about it calmly with a pragmatic and positive point of view. You can wrap the “silver lining” around you like a warm blanket:
Think how free we’ll feel without a mortgage.
We’re young. We’ll bounce back stronger than ever.
At least we’re not alone.
At least we don’t have kids yet.
At least we’re employed again.
At least we have each other.
And we’re happy.
If we had to lose our house to find happiness than it was worth it, right?
Other days are harder. On those days even the innocent question “What’s happening with the house?” brings tears to your eyes and without warning opens a depository of despair. That pragmatic and calm response usually so easy to convey is nowhere to be summoned. Instead you say: “Nothing. And each day is more depressing than the last.” Once you say it out loud, everything shifts. The day is now different. The day becomes about not crying at work. Every little thing is amplified.
Monday was one of those days for me. It began with our car overheating. The water pump seized up while Bob was driving it to get the door panel fixed for my dad who was flying in that night to buy the car from us. Of all the days. We had to fix it. Dad was on his way. Bob handled it like a champ. I was grateful for his calm demeanor over the phone. (He confessed later that he sat screaming in the car for a few minutes while waiting for the tow.)
My nerves were all haywire to begin with because that night was the staged reading of my play in Hollywood and I always get nervous and anxious about those things. I just kept thinking…
Why couldn’t one thing go our way?
Why did the car have to break down now?
Why haven’t we sold the house yet?
We need to drop the price again.
Why won’t Countrywide just work with us?
What are we going to do?
Where will we go?
We're running out of time!
And the more my thoughts circled around like that the more I wanted to vomit my guts out all over my desk. I wanted to scream. I wanted to lose my shit. I couldn’t get enough air. My anxiety wrapped me up in – not a silver lining- but a straight jacket.
I went home at 3 to prepare for the reading. I still had a few revisions to make on a couple of scenes. I walked into the house, dropped my bags, headed towards the bedroom and threw myself down on the bed. I was freaking out. Bob was there. Thank god. He followed me into the bedroom and asked what he could do. I said, lie on top of me! I wanted to feel his weight. So he did. And for some reason it helped. I felt protected.
Is this helping? He asked.
And I just nodded. Then cried. A sort of wail, actually.
Let it out, said Bob.
My wail turned to laughter and I sounded hysterical…. Laughing, crying, laughing, crying, laughing, crying, crying, crying. My eyes burned. I was getting it out. Letting go. When there was nothing left, Bob and I just looked at each other. He – in his dark, sick and twisted sense of humor- said, (very calmly,) “Okay, time to turn the gas on and go to sleep.” Which made me laugh. And given our situation I could in that moment understand how and why people do that. Don’t worry, Mom. We would never. Never ever. My only point is that I could actually- intellectually and emotionally- get it. There is a dark side to all of this and our secret is that we know that every moment is about a choice. And my reading was only a couple of hours away and I had to write now. I gave Bob a kiss, got up, walked into the other room, drank a Guinness (desperate times sometimes call for Guinness) and wrote a new top to Act 2: Scene 1. In about ten minutes. And then went to my reading.
It was wonderful. Dad was there. So many friends and people I hadn’t seen in ages. We had a full house. It was just what I needed. It helped that it went so well. And that ten-minute revision of Act 2: Scene 1 got one of the biggest laughs of the night.
By midnight, after an emotionally exhausting day, I was climbing into bed for a much-needed rest with Bob, a smile and a warm blanket with a silver lining.