There used to be a lightness to me. There were even moments when I became a dirigible and viewed the world from a lofty effortlessness that came with happiness. Things used to be easier for me, like walking, like moving my arms, like breathing and showering and eating and talking. Now when I speak my words fall on the ground like stones as soon as they leave my mouth. Attached to my arms, my legs, my fingers and ankles are lead weights. I wear a weighted jacket that compresses my chest when I lie down. I can feel it crushing my ribs. It makes it hard to sleep.
Where once there was a relationship with gravity that allowed for the occasional flight, now there is only the pull of the earth, holding me firmly in place. My feet have to be peeled off the ground. It takes great effort and so more often than not I just stand in one place feeling myself sink into the floor, the dirt, the sand. There are deep impressions of my feet in front of the sink, in front of the stove, in the shower outlined in cracked porcelain and just inside the door of Willa’s room. I stand in these places and cannot move.
I used to see the world around me, but my eyes are too heavy now. The tears that constantly run from them are pieces of marble. You hear them clink clink clink in the sink, you see them collect in a concave depression on my pillow. They blur all vision.
I used to see people who stood in one place. They looked like lampposts, gravestones, markers for other people to navigate around. They just stood there, in front of the laundry, at the outskirts of a party, at the dinner table. I could not then see that they too were held down by lead, burdened with immeasurable weight. Just trying to remember how to untie the strings, or, trying to discover how to make the knots tighter.
In the Invisible City of Lead Weights we are never alone, though we have no idea of this. Our thoughts do not travel, and none come to us. The air around you grows stale without use. From overhead comes the faint sound of propellers and you just hope that one day you will be able to fly again.