I answer the door in sweatpants and a raggedy old t-shirt. I have three-day unshowered hair scooped up and pulled into a haphazard bun, greasy strands escaping the restraints of my elastic rubber band. I don’t have to swipe lipgloss on or part my lips in a smile. I don’t have to make small talk, I just unhinge the lock and swing the door open without hiding behind it.
I let them in without first swiping mascara on my lashes or vanishing in a cloud of dry shampoo trying to hide the damage of the lost days. I walk them through my life with the breakfast dishes resting on the table, egg yolk dried in an elongated blob like a yellow Rorschach. Laundry is piling up waiting to be washed or folded, I forget which.
I can say the days have been hard, barely survivable at times. I can say that I hope towards tomorrow but find little for today. I can say there are nights so dark they wolf down my days, all fangs and bared teeth under a moon thick as a lemon wedge bobbing in a sky full of sweet tea. But all I taste is the bitter. And even still, I thirst.
My tongue has been trained by Sunday school etiquette and polite company never to spew out these words like some un-chewable gristle spit hastily into a napkin and discarded under the porcelain china setting. When “fine” is our answer, we gnash our teeth and chew and choke it down for fear of being that guest, the one at the table who fumbles with the finery and dribbles wine down the front of our shirts like we came starving to this feast. Like we forgot our manners in the house of God, and ripped into the bread like it was life, and gulped down the wine, like our tongues were on fire.
But we do. Hunger and thirst in just this way…