oh nothing

I almost shut down my blog yesterday, on a whim.  I logged in, pushed the new post button out of rote memory, and then paused.

The blank screen is so familiar to me that it rarely looks blank to me. I see the completion of its message, or at least the start.

The cursor isn’t tapping its foot impatiently, it is softly breathing, consistent in its repose.
But yesterday, it was just blank.
There was no life there, and I found myself needing to look behind the clockwork face. I went to settings. I exported the contents, titling it all “just in case”, and then pressed down onto the Delete Button.

Are you sure?
I live on the Internet, I know that no delete button would just immediately send content into the ether. I know the protocol is one final prompt.

Are you sure?
Are you sure?

Without releasing the button, I slid the cursor away.  “There’s mine fields on Internet,” my husband, Dave, would say, but this wasn’t one.  Nothing happened when I stepped off the button.  In the 12 minutes the weight of my heart held it down, wandering through memories and possibilities alike– not a single thing happened.  And in the minutes prior, nothing happened then either.

I almost shut down my blog yesterday, on a whim, and I’ve thinking about why ever since.
Thinking if it’d be different if the impulse had been rewarded with explosion.
Thinking if it’d be different if I wasn’t so afraid of that three word question.

So afraid I didn’t even want to peek into the dark
and see if it was there.

Are you sure?
Are you sure?

My husband would say that was the only sentence that could stop me in my tracks.

Is anyone really sure of anything?

In my head, I sip Dave’s coffee.  It’s too sweet, it’s too hot.  I grimace because I’ve never understood the sorts of things he consumed.  He grimaces because his coffee is artwork and my senses are moving too fast to experience them.

I lay in bed, thinking of the buttons I pressed, talking to a man who I know is dead.  His voice lives inside my head, preserved in pieces of true moments and reasonable manifestations of his opinion.   He is always 12,858 days old.  He is always dead. He is always alive. He is always unimpressed by my counting of time, or the edgier impulses of my whimsicality.

In my mind, he is holding his coffee and cigarette in the same hand.  He stopped smoking in real life years ago, but if anyone deserves a cigarette in the aftermath of life, it is my husband.

He looks young, but then, I am not so ageless as he.

“What do you think it means?” I ask him.  He tells me a story I lived alongside him.  A story about the man who lived on a sofa outside our first apartment.  We would joke some days, when the termites fell through onto our stove, or when the heater turned itself on during the summer heat waves.  We would joke that his house was nicer than ours.

At night, the man would take out a book of matches and mutter to himself. He’d light them one at a time and threaten to burn down the sofa.  He never did.  He loved the sofa. He loved his home.  He just wanted to remember that it was a home he chose, not a prison, a home that he could leave.  He just wanted to hear himself ask the question “Are you sure?” and know that he was not.  He burned his matches to taste freedom, to hear certainty, to feel fear.
To feel anything.

Everyone said he’d never burn that old sofa, but I would still worry when Dave would toss a booklet of matches his way.

“Are you sure?” I’d ask, watching the man beam a smile at us as we drove by in the morning.

“I am.” he said, “And now he’ll get a chance to be sure, too.”

Are you sure?
Are you sure?

I almost got to that question, but I didn’t get quite that far.
Whims never carry me very far.

If I want to go anywhere specific, I have to ride stories. Sturdy true stories, lined with steel buttons and fanciful lace.  If I want to go somewhere important, I have to share coffee with the people who live in my head.

I almost deleted my blog yesterday, on a whim,
but the whim sputtered under the weight of me,
and thankfully the buttons I pressed were just matches
not mines.

My cursor keeps breathing, softly, steadily, in repose.

And I am still sure of nothing–
because nothing is something I’ve seen in action.

Yesterday, I almost deleted my blog on a whim.
And nothing exploded,
And nothing exploded,
And nothing exploded.

The matches burnt out in my hands,
and nothing burned.