Mood Swingin'

It is that most confounding of sensations, that internal shift that seeps slowly through your veins, or perhaps darts rapidly in and out of each and every pore: that strident, sure undoing that consumes as it swells, blotting out every note of harmony even as you grapple to create one more, one more. It is a force beyond reckoning and beyond reason; its destruction so complete, so painstaking, you feel perversely created from the very ashes it left behind.

It’s a mood swing. 

A phenomenon that, like so many other well-known occurrences, has become reduced to a tired punch line, a ragged defense, simple in its weary ubiquity. A distinctly feminized trait, laughingly attributed to menstruating and gestating vagina-possessors. Women: a simmering stew of hormones, electric; irrational; liable to strike without warning or provocation.  Approach with caution. Or don’t approach at all.

Today was the first real harbinger of the spring we’ve been yearning for. The sidewalks began to reemerge after months of being submerged beneath piles of old snow, packed ice, murky slush. Ripped candy wrappers, empty coffee cups, and smudged cigarettes gleamed in the sun, unearthed from their icy prison. Springtime in New York City, I mused, sidestepping a smear of tan dog shit. A whole new world of buried pollution.

I wish it really was a swing, like the ones in the old playground we would ride our bikes to during the summer, down suburban streets that were blessedly empty. Hot, black leather gently curved around our backsides, toes curled into the mulch and dirt, legs taut as we pushed off into the air. Knees curled, then straight, curled, then straight, every molecule in our small bones screaming fly, fly! We would soar upwards, downwards, backwards, laughing for the sheer joy of being airborne, wildly free, wind whipping past our faces, wide open with delight. I wish I could swing like that, now; I wish I could forget the heaviness in my bones where there once was just air and light and blood. I wish my swing was a gentle leather that seared the backs of my thighs if I wasn’t careful to pull my shorts down, not a hard plastic seat, a weary slump with my bags pulled into my lap and a sighing glance at the time: I’m going to be late for that damn morning meeting again. My toes are cold, sore, not curled in anticipation; I’m not going anywhere, the wind whips, but it is frigid, and mocking, and smells of thawing garbage. I am not airborne. I am on a subway platform, and I am somewhere between melancholy and pissed.