January 3, 2020:
"If one imagines a soul of iron that weathers with grief and rusts with mild depression, then major depression is the startling collapse of a whole structure." — Solomon, The Noonday Demon, 17.
I feel it happen.
I'm on the floor in a motel room as her taillights blur into distance, and with that blurring my entire field of vision begins to fragment, dividing itself into discrete regions unrelated or only tenuously related to one another, not so much like a wall of television screens tuned to different images as like a kaleidoscope whose constantly evolving symmetries fail to resolve into a mirrored whole. Where the regions are autonomous and there are gaps between them, and within them, which you can fill with great effort but the effort is exhausting and not at all worth the effort.
I'm aware that I'm weeping. It comes from somewhere different. Unusual. Not a broken heart or a somatic injury. From within the cells, like being on fire from the inside out, where you feel yourself glowing the way a statue of a man would glow if it were drowned in magma, just in that one precarious moment before its own flames burst forth. Weeping and screaming, there's hardly a difference. The way a father would weep over a child dead in the street, or a bonding animal would wail when it's lost its mate. Which is in literal fact what's just happened.
Fire and screams. I see myself. I'm looking down from a position above my body near the ceiling. I'm crosslegged on the floor with my head thrown backward so that the back of it rests on the seatcushions of a couch. My face flows with tears and mucus, my eyes are clenched shut, my mouth is open, there's a scream of agony between my lips. I feel great pity for him, and great sorrow. He reminds me of a photograph I've recently seen in Life magazine or another glossy, where a burn victim with terrible peeling red skin sits immersed in a salt tank at a burn ICU, head back, screaming. Looking down at myself I'm thinking, He can't live like that. No-one can survive pain like that. He's going to die.
In the morning I find myself in fetal position beside the couch, dehydrated. The weeping resumes, as it will for weeks, along with the insomnia, the dread, the sense of impending death. And the fragmented, divided, nonintegrated field of vision, which stays with me for a very long time.