Laughter is my only safety

What’s happened to me? I ask with a laugh, brushing my hair out of my face. The windows are down, the road is empty and open in front of me, and my eyes are sparkling behind my red wayfarers. It’s a beautiful, typical Thursday afternoon in the middle of summer. July 25th, to be exact, and I’m smiling like a fool driving down a country road in rural Indiana. Despite my laughter, despite the grin I’m wearing, an aching remains in my chest at all hours of the day and night.

It’s five months until Christmas. Approximately four months until Thanksgiving. Just over three until Halloween. Really, it’ll all be here and over before I realize it. It’s crazy, it’s terrifying. Time used to be such a trivial matter when I was younger. Now I’m battling it constantly. If I’m not pushing deadlines, I’m staring at the clock waiting for another hour to crawl by. Days are short or they’re long, never in between, never normal.

I’ve written about time in the past, and trying to live without worrying about it. That notion gets harder to grasp every day. I wish I could do it, but I’m too anxious and too eager. There’s too much to do and not enough time, or there’s way too much time and nothing to do. I’ve been home from school for 12 weeks as of today. I move back 3 weeks from tomorrow. Do the math – I’m 80% of the way through this. I only have to get through one more day for every four that I’ve been back. Those numbers sound great. But right now, 22 days somehow still feels almost as long as 84.

Still, I laugh as I drive home from town. I laugh at the funny and stupid things he says to make me smile. I laugh at the way our lives are passing us by without much concern from us. I laugh at myself for being so desperate to leave. I laugh at everything that crosses my mind anymore…because it’s not as messy as crying. I don’t know what’s changed in me this summer, but I have an idea it’s some sort of defense mechanism. One last resort to keep me sane.

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