The shutters rattle and slam in the wind. Rain pours through the cracks in the roof. The drab grey interior of the shack is only made more miserable with the addition of a puddle on the dirt floor.
I shuffle my body into the driest corner. There is nothing to sit on but the floor. I sit in the dirt with my back resting against the corner. Not much of a shelter but the storms outside are unrelenting. I am damp, not quite drenched through. I was buffeted by icy wind and cutting sheets of rain. Exhaustion makes the dank interior feel almost welcoming. The leaky roof and muddy floor are a grey, lifeless refuge from hurricanes.
I can’t stay here but I can’t go back into the storms. Sitting on a dirt floor with an ever encroaching puddle is preferable to a gale force typhoon. Hurricanes rip at my refuge. I accept what little comfort the shack provides.
I call the shack numb. Numb is a dry spot in the corner of a flimsy shelter which blocks out the worst of the storms and the best of the light. Numb, a roofless shack in a hurricane. Curled up in the driest corner is the best and worst anyone can hope for.
If I get caught in the emotional storms, the color bleeds out of life and I breathe in lungfuls of water. Without numb, I collapse into myself. The screams in my head are overwhelming. Searing pains rip through my chest. Every neuron lights up with anxiety, anguish and grief. All the darkness shoved down, boils through my synapses. A rip tide of emotions can pull me into the darkest crevasses.
To escape, I crawl into the shack. I like numb. I hate numb. Numb is too much and never enough all at once. Numb is better than the feelings I can’t process; feelings better buried under bravado and dismissed.
Numb however, is a temporary shelter, not a place to take up residence. Every storm ends eventually, but sometimes it rains night after night. Though it may feel as though hell has a sub-basement and I should unpack and move in, one day the storms will end. The sun will shine again. Though it may be stilted, stiff and hesitant, my feet will carry me out of the shack where I can see light again.