Pain is the strangest of all human phenomena. A shapeless enigma with no definitive form or figure; vague and endless as the psyche that houses such a gray and wounded monster. There are times when people hold on tightly to their personal tortures, for the sake of vanity or some basic inability to let the past rest and remain unfinished. Modern day grave robbers digging down Facebooks and Instagrams until their thumb strikes that cold and empty coffin, crowbar it open, and find nothing but photos they don’t belong in and that empty feeling they started out with.
And other times pain is a beast prowling on the hunt, an ambush camouflaged in the most innocuous disguises. Like hairpins and people wearing ripped jeans, or the smell of grass and concrete the day after it rains. A predator that feeds primarily on the supposedly forgetful, makes prey of the most stoic or hardened person. And when it leaps from out of nowhere like a wildcat in the tall-grass, there are no fangs or screams, no death or desperate fight or flight. Just silence, and the bloody aftermath of someone who remembers.
Pain is the strangest of all human phenomena, my favorite thing to bottle and stick under a microscope. I like to collect them, like pets or dangerous diseases. To see what makes them tick, if they are a family or genome I can label and self-identify. Put them strangely on display in silly dresses, prose and names. Lay them on a coffee table and see how harmless they are in public. And in my quiet walks back home from nowhere in particular, no baggage to call my own, when the grass shifts a certain way and I know that pain is coming- I brace myself for whats to come, welcome what beast might let tears and taring sear me to the bone. Yet these days nothing leaps out any more, and I stroll home empty handed and disappointed.
But my little jar is ready.