The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing



10:41 PM



How’d it go tonight in therapy?


Not so good, B. I could not hide and came clean about being disappointed about the anniversary — about Eileen forgetting, about nothing ever happening to celebrate. 

And then leapt hard to hate myself for the dependency and the shame in all of it. 

I said to her that she is nothing — nothing but a game in my mind. She points to the pear, noting that this, perhaps, is a middle ground, a real-life solid object. 

But, I think to myself, where, oh where, is my pear in all this? Where is the thoughtful, handmade-with-every-ounce-of-love-I-could-muster gift for me?


S, I hate to interrupt, but my feeling, my gut is this: We are getting lost in the shuffle that is E’s life. She has bigger fish to fry than us. Her larger concerns eclipse us. She does not argue when we say we want to quit. When we say we’d like to end positively, she says, in so many words, don’t bother. When we suggest that maybe we should have ended after the Flood, she offers that this was where she thought it would end — but that we wanted more. 


Go on, A. 


Do you really want me to?


Maybe not. 



5:58 AM


I wake this morning at 5:30 AM and lie in bed crying. My Sandbox world feels like it is falling apart inside of me. 

I think about a friend of mine. He is a professional drummer, and he played for a musical for a two-year run when it was in town. We went to see it, and him, and afterward he took us backstage, deep down under and into the bowels of the set. I remember seeing hundreds of pairs of shoes and costumes on racks being whisked away. This was a small city, constructed and deconstructed nightly. 

And I thought for a moment or more that I wanted to hang up all my Parts, whisk them away on a rack, deconstruct my Sandbox and, finally, just be done. I visualized a rack with a blanket on it, a Monkey suit, a rack with Shard’s sneakers — dirty laces dangling like a tomboy’s braids. And I wanted to walk away from all of it, from everything and everyone I’ve found. 

And as I got up, I wondered if  I could transcribe this morning, if tears would get in the way. And as I waited for the kettle to whistle, I cried and thought … she wins. 

E wins. 

I will always feel smaller and more dependent and more needy. 

I grew furious at her for forgetting the one-year anniversary of the Sandbox. My anniversary date represented, as lousy as it is to admit it, a test. Not pass/fail but more of a gauge of temperature. And when I read the thermometer, I was so hurt and perhaps so expectant that I blew up inside. 

I conclude that before everything happened, E loved being loved. And now … she hates being hated.

Last night I say maybe I should quit. She says fine, but let’s at least talk once before you do. She says she would have hung it up after the Flood — but I pushed — I needed, I wanted.

It was Thanksgiving eve, and somehow I felt the session would work out, would be cozy. But as I leave, I tell Eileen I could not feel worse. I am flailing. I tell her I feel terrible. 

“Hey,” she says, “it’s only therapy.”

And I feel shamed to have taken things so seriously, to have somehow gotten myself so trapped. 

I am angry with her, reject her personhood last night; she is nothing, I tell her. Nothing but a game inside my head. But it’s a game, I see this morning, that I am losing. Each day I struggle to not upload; each day I feel how much I miss writing to her. Each day I swallow how little I mean, how I lie in wait like an animal pacing a cage …

I am losing. I am losing. I am losing. 

My Parts want to speak, but I disallow them. I can hear A say that we were always meant to lose, that we will always mean much less to her than she to us, that I could write another five thousand pages and spill one masterpiece or piece of shit after another, and still, we are only ninety minutes and a check that clears. 

I fall asleep and wake to the nightmare inside of all the feelings I had last night and the fact that she can and will walk away from the ugliness of my insistent, pointed rage. A therapist friend told me that we do not act out in our life and that “acting in” is the smart way to work our therapy. That is, she added, if the therapist can last. 

And we question now: 

Can she last? 

Is she done? 

A few nights ago I dreamt of E. I was underneath a blanket, all of me, completely covered up, head to toe. It was as if I had died and someone, out of respect, had covered the body. E came to me and threw herself on top of me and my blanket and … I came back to life. This coming back to life then turned into an endless kiss, hours and hours in length, until it eventually took me up and into the morning and light of day. 

I contrast this dream to where I sit now, where I sit after last night, unable to hide the dependency and anger inside of me, the endlessness of wanting and not getting, of needing and not receiving. 

And I see that I hate my Sandbox. I hate me. I hate every single Part, all of you. 

I want to whisk that costume rack away, everything that is my Sandbox, and erase everything that has happened. I wish to the Not Gods that I could take it all back, every word, every page. Because if I did there would never have been a Flood or Notice or Weekend Notice or the Mostly Forgotten Anniversary. 

Or last night when I feel E’s silent anger, disgust and disinterest wash over me. 

Hate me … or don’t. 

I just don’t care.