A friend, a new acquaintance really,
because I asked,
to a basement in the city.
In this basement were a group of people with whom I had nothing in common. I, me, of the perfectly normal childhood, the hale and happy life, the undramatic existence, was sitting in a room filled with people who had fallen into the abyss and were trying to make their way out.
All the stories were the same.
Every single person had
into a deep dark hole
and the only person who could help them
was someone who had also once
into that deep dark hole.
I sat in a basement of fluorescent lights
listening to people tell their stories,
(lots of clapping)
(and still counting)
(you go girl)
There are basements like this all over the city, my friend tells me. He says at any time, any hour, you can find a place like this. A place where your pain can be shared, your story listened to with the unique compassion of a fellow sufferer.
My life has never known abysses from which there is hardly any return, I have never experienced a hole from which I could not climb out. I have never known that there are stories being told in hidden basements all over the city. But I am not entirely surprised that our city shelters these tales told about the depths of despair, where recovery is counted in days.