Sunday, November 23, 2008


Melancholy must not become me. People keep asking me what's wrong, and look expectant. "Nothing," I say, straighfaced, "school's just a bit, you know." And they nod, like they do. Because, of course, they can't know what it is. That's it's like everything's gone a bit blurry. I can't get to sleep, and then when I do I just want to stay in bed forever because getting ready to go out of the house is an exhausting ritual. I feel ridiculous, perched next to the toilet vomiting or shoving spat-out food into the trash or evaluating the value of each bite in my head. And even with these things I've still had about 500 calories today. Everything seems an exercise in futility.
But since melancholy must not become me, I smile when people look.

I figure Thanksgiving will be a kind of hell, so that 500 calories is overwhelming. But if I stay below 200 the next three days, maybe it will be OK. Most likely not, but I'll pretend for my own sake. The lack of progress just gets aggravating, though, since I know that my goal is extremely obtainable, and it's my own failure getting in the way.

Lately I've turned to my comfort poetry, C.P. Cavafy. There is something of a pervasive yearning in his poetry that is just so entirely sad and beautiful. I found my copy during a charity booksale, so it's a 40-something year old, stained and yellowing paperback that I now cherish. This is one of my favorites, something of the sadness of time and the ignorance of youth:

    An Old Man
In the inner room of the noisy café
an old man sits bent over a table;
a newspaper before him, no companion beside him.

And in the scorn of his miserable old age,
he meditates how little he enjoyed the years
when he had strength, the art of the word, and good looks.

He knows he has aged much; he is aware of it, he sees it,
And yet the time when he was young seems like
yesterday. How short a time, how short a time.

And he ponders how Wisdom had deceived him;
and how he always trusted her — what folly! —
the liar who would say, "Tomorrow. You have ample time."

He recalls impulses he curbed; and how much
joy he sacrificed. Every lost chance
now mocks his senseless prudence.

...But with so much thinking and remembering
the old man reels. And he dozes off
bent over the table of the café.

No comments: