But I was changed by its passage. Afterward, I was never quite as sure of my abilities.
I had lost that innocent confidence we all possess until we encounter something that rubs our noses in powerlessness.
Some who are depressed can relieve the symptoms by literally moving past them; they begin running or swimming or walking, and their bodies supply the mood-lifters they need. Others require chemical intervention to return to the forward pace of their lives.
For the fortunate few like me, the trigger that blasts away the fog is a single uplifting experience, as simple as an unexpected smile from a loved one—even from a stranger. Without realizing why, the corners of the mouth rise in response, and so does the heart. The grey goes away.
I had written a short poem following my single bout with the grey monster, and it needed only a few additional words to qualify for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge this week:
May 24, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that changes with a smile. It can be a character, tone, setting or any creative use of smile. You can go deep and consider motive and influence, or you can light up the world with a brilliant flash (of teeth as well as fiction). And smile, because your writing matters and is not hostage to your level, experience or circumstances.
I send this thought out into the world, with my smile attached, and my hope: May it find anyone who is frozen, weary, defeated, or depressed, and may it be the required rescue.
RescuedGrey is the sky and grey my heart,
Frozen, for all I might do.
I cannot find a way to start
or stop, or yet continue.
Lost in a maze of 'must' and 'shall,'
I have no true desire.
Grey is my life and dim, and all
The art that I might aspire
Is shades of grey and strains of lust.
Twisted and incomplete.
It tastes of mold, is sad with dust.
I trudge with sour defeat,
To find at the end of a dreary mile
Sunrise and hope, and your sweet smile.