The Return of Claude

Claude comes by every now and then.  More often than not he disappears during the summer; maybe it’s too hot for him here in the Northeast, I don’t know.  He tends to visit more in the fall and deep winter, when days are short and nights are long and cold.  That’s when he likes to hunker down, wrap himself up in one of my big fat couch blankets, and ask me for a cup of tea. Because he likes to stay awhile.

I usually can sense when he’s coming.  He doesn’t call ahead, and he certainly doesn’t ask permission.  I’ll usually wake up and get a feeling that he will be visiting.  I’m never sure how long he’ll be around, but my quest over the past few months has been to hustle his ass right back out the door as quickly as possible.  Given that I started that quest in the spring, the last few months have been pretty easy. He hasn’t been around much…it’s more like he’s sent a couple of postcards, reminders that he’s out there in the world, and that no matter how far abroad he goes, he still belongs to me. And he will always come back home.

The past few days have been cool, and the breeze I feel on my face is ominous because it isn’t just the wind blowing through the trees. It’s Claude’s wings, flapping slowly but steadily as he makes his descent back to my yard, my house, my head.

For those of you who don’t know, Claude is my dragon.  He is the dragon that represents the depression I live with every day of my life.  Some days are, of course, better than others, and there are sometimes several days in a row where I feel that Claude is as far away as Timbuktu, sunning himself, drinking pina coladas, and leaving me the hell alone.

But now it’s fall. This is when Claude likes to come and harass me. Taunt me, badger me, sit down and watch my fucking TiVo and drink my tea and take up all the fucking space in the bed when I lie down to sleep.  I know this is when he likes to come, so I am not surprised that at last, he has arrived in all his scaly, gold-eyed 9 foot glory, to gloat.

That’s fine, Claude. Come on in. Enjoy the view from the sunroom as the leaves change color and fall.  Watch the final season of Lost with me on DVD, sure.  Hover as I put the kids to bed.  Sit with me as I try to plan my kids schooling, and laugh as I fail to write anything coherent on my blog or for my book. Remind me of all my failures and reassure me that I have more to come!

Enjoy yourself. Have a blast.

You’re not going to be here for long. Not this year. Not this time. I know you will keep coming back and that there will be days where, despite my best efforts, you will still get in. But I will keep kicking you out, every time, if it takes a day, a week, a month to get you out.

This is what I promised myself. And I know your greatest trick will be to try to convince me that it is not worth it, that you’ll keep coming back and that therefore I might as well succumb. And maybe, there will be some days where I believe it.

Which is why I’m writing this, here, now. So that I can look back and remember that there was a day when I believed, when I knew, that beating you was possible and that I had the tools to do it.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I know the truth of that more than anyone can understand.

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