survivor’s guilt

My mother and father are Jewish. So is my sister and her husband and their child. My cousins are Jewish too. So are my aunts and uncles. I am an atheist.

I grew up feeling guilty even when there was no cause for it. It is in my blood, (or this is what my ancestors say).

To wake up in an apartment with free warmth and free hot water and electricity in every room, lurking from every outlet, with a bed and clean sheets and windows without cracks and a working refrigerator keeping my perishables safe where my vegetable drawer is full from the farmer’s market where my closet has hangers hugging shirts and jackets and my floor is clean without holes or water damage and there is a roof above me and it appears secure.

To wake up.

To wake up with a father just one state away and a mother just a bus or train ride away and a sister just a bike ride away.

To wake up with love dripping from my wrists and hiding behind my ears and whispering from my calendar.

To wake up with a job to go to. Two jobs to go to. Four…including the ones that don’t always pay me.

To wake up without a cough or suspicious flu in my body. To wake without the need for medication. Without the need for hidden drugs in boxes, tucked away in the back of closet.

To wake.

I am an atheist and I believe in nothing and I believe that maybe I can believe in something someday when the haunt subsides. When the guilt goes away. When I start to really imagine life without having a secret affair with death.

To survive when others have not is not a feeling of relief. It reeks with the aroma of unworthiness. Music plays and all I can hear is why me why me why me why me why me why me why me why me why me why me why me why mewhy me why me why me why me why me why me why me why me.

Must I believe in some thing in order to make sense of this?

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