As Gabrielle started to wake, flashes of her dreams came back to her. Images of what her brain had tried to process overnight. She couldn’t make out everything. A face. A landscape. If the dreams had been particularly interesting, she could remember them more clearly. The vague ones, however, were the ones that nagged at her. They left her with a feeling that something was unresolved. Wasn’t something always unresolved though? They’d haunt her throughout the day. She could never escape the feeling that they were chasing her, trying to force her to deal with something she didn’t want to deal with. At that moment in her life, there was a lot she didn’t want to face.
Lately, the nagging had become constant. She couldn’t shake it. She couldn’t distract herself from it. It just got louder and louder. She was tired. She was snapping over things that normally wouldn’t bother her. She had little patience. The worst part though was the feeling of complete and total loneliness. Yes, she had friends and family who loved her. It wasn’t the same. She missed the daily interactions that went along with having a companion. Gabrielle missed waking up next to someone.
It wasn’t just the loneliness that was getting to her. Her mother’s health continued to decline and showed no signs of ever improving. She had watched her mother give up mentally long before the physical decline took place. Was it because she had lost her sister? Was it because the lives of her children hadn’t turned out the way she had hoped? More than likely, the answer would never be known. It almost didn’t matter. The end result was a once strong woman had given up on life and was determined to live her remaining days playing the victim and feeling sorry for herself.
Watching her parents struggle was what tired her the most. The anger and resentment towards her mother bubbled just beneath her chest, threatening to force its way out. The frustration she felt with her dad’s denial of the situation made her crazy. Some days, the guilt of feeling all of it was crippling.
The whole situation reminded her of the years she spent with her ex. She knew all too well how easy it was to enable the bad behavior of another because it was the path of least resistance. She knew how easy it could be for the head to overpower the heart when the heart knew a difficult decision needed to be made. She had spent years letting her head control everything and denying the truth she knew in her heart.
She couldn’t understand how her mother could give up so easily when she was surrounded by people who loved her. But apparently, none of them mattered enough for her to even try. That is what hurt the most. That is what she just couldn’t understand, no matter how hard she tried. How do you let the loss of one person, no matter how much you loved them or how important they were to you, cripple you to the point that all the other love you have around you doesn’t matter? Does she even realize how insulting and hurtful her behavior is? Does she care?
The possibility of becoming just like her mother, of giving up because life didn’t go the way she wanted, gnawed at her as she tried to go about her days. Gabrielle had seen signs of it already. Depression that set in when she felt unseen, unheard, and just generally ignored. Feeling like the world was against her if the smallest of mundane things went wrong. She didn’t want to follow those footsteps, but it would take a lot of work to stay off that path.
If her current relationship with Lucy didn’t work out, how would she react? It had been a struggle lately. She’d gotten a variation of the “it’s not you..it’s me” speech but knew it was just a front. The truth was much more complicated, much more personal. Lately, her head had been telling her it was time to give up. She’d tried her best. They were both stubborn as hell. Lucy was convinced she just couldn’t love anyone and that Gabrielle should move on. Gabrielle was convinced Lucy’s heart would recover if she didn’t give into the fear and vulnerability that came with loving someone.
A few times, Gabrielle had gone out, thinking she might meet someone. She’d looked at the online dating sites. Every time, though, her heart told her it was wrong. Her body reacted to these activities with nausea. No matter how much her head tried to convince her it was time, her heart and body rebelled. It wasn’t time. She knew that. Gabrielle’s head had convinced her to stay with her ex three years too many when her heart was screaming at her to end it and run. She didn’t listen to her heart. That’s why Gabrielle knew now to ignore her head. Her heart and body wouldn’t be reacting this way if she were making the right decision.
These were all the things haunting her dreams and her thoughts. She was exhausted by it all. So much so that her body was starting to manifest her emotional pain. She just didn’t know what to do anymore. So much of it was out of her control. She felt paralyzed by the uncertainty in her life. There really was no rest from it. There was nobody to share it with. Gabrielle was tired of all the conflict and longed for someone to rest her head on.