I am numb. Listless. My puzzle pieces have scattered and shattered and I have no idea how to put myself back together. 

I can’t believe I got fired. I can’t believe they fired me. This runs over and over through my head, ad infinitum. My head shakes in a negative salute to the universe. 

This. Can’t. Be. Real. 

I know I am slipping under the water, deep and dark; I cannot let it happen. I have too much to be thankful for, too much to push me forward, too much pride to let this do me in. 

My mind wrestles.  It was just a job. But it was so much of my life. I worked for them longer than I have been a mother, longer than I have known my husband. My job, my career, was such a core part of my identity…it consumed me at times, I see that now. 

Today is my first full unemployed day. And I don’t know what to do with myself. My husband hovers over me, afraid I’ll crack (can something shattered and splintered crack more?). 

“What do you want to do today? What can I do?” His constant presence is annoying, a reminder that I somehow failed him and our daughter. Failed.

“I don’t know what to do,” I say. The double meaning clear: today and for the rest of my life. 

If this were a vacation day, I would be running errands, maybe cleaning the house, lunch with my mother-in-law. But I was supposed to be at work right now. Why am I not at work right now?

“Maybe I’ll go for a drive.” But gas costs money…money money money. And perhaps I can’t focus enough to stay on the road. “Let me drive you,” he says, somehow hearing my fear. 

“Ok,” I say; I have no fight in me. Not yet. 

We end up at a bookstore. It’s too hot out to sit at a park or walk around. The world must be on fire. 

I find a comfy chair and buy (cringe, cue the dollar sign sound) an overpriced-iced tea. 

And I sit. 

I play a game on my phone but can’t focus. The store is overly populated by old, retired people. I feel so very, very out of place. I seem to have landed on another planet. 

But glancing around, I see the universe has a sense of humor. 

Ha. Ha. Very funny. Screw you, universe. 

Message delivered. I hear you, God. Get up. Keep going. Do not let this destroy you. You can will get through this.