While we conducted close readings of “The Wanderer” and “The Seafarer,” a real-life storm raged its way across town outside. It seemed that night had fallen in the middle of the afternoon, and the rain ricocheted against the window panes as thunder threatened to make the ground tremble.
As the skies surrendered their burdens to the earth, I resonated with the poems despite my reluctance to talk about them, caught up in the deep vastness of winter, of pouring rain, of exile. But it was oddly comforting to know my feelings weren’t foreign. They weren’t new. The Anglo-Saxons understood the fatigued restlessness. They understood the difficulty of synthesizing experiences that don’t seem to correlate.
We discussed depression and dissociation over dinner.
We walked four miles through too-perfect neighborhoods, awash with the rain’s baptism. There were words carved into the sidewalks, clearly an indication that we were trapped in a simulation. We laughed into the eerie silence, batting the air before our eyes in doubt that even existed. Our bodies felt heavy, our souls far away. Storybook light tumbled through the leaves and illuminated a path for our feet, stealing our breaths and our heartbeats in one grand illusion.
Perhaps we were Gnostic. Where were we? Was anything real? “Are” we?
Somehow, it didn’t matter.
God came over decaf coffee and homemade coffee cake. It was not enough to trust everything would be okay. We had to pray.
The record player carried its melody into our minds and purged us of our burdens. We left pieces of ourselves in the carefully arranged white bookshelves, the unlit fire place, the smiles of beloved friends and mentors, the communal prayer, the relieved tears upon returning to the apartment.
We would be okay. We would pray.
And it will be. And we did. And it is. And we will.