Filling Buckets

Scott McFantasia

Every time I disappoint you, one drop of sweat forms on my brow. I wipe it away with a handkerchief that’s moldy and ripped, then ring the sweat into a bucket. The bucket has filled by only the smallest amount every day. At first it was just a few drops the seemed harmless enough, but as time passed, the bucket started to fill.

white canoe over calm water
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

When I saw how quickly the bottom of the bucket was covered up, I began to sweat more and more. How could I be disappointing you this much? I’m trying to be helpful and nice and kind and sweet, but I manage to screw it up anyway. Some days I can’t convince myself to keep trying, and then before bed, I can ring out an entire cup of sweat into the bucket. The bucket fills but what I worry about more is what will run out first, room in the bucket or your patience.

Occasionally, I’ll go down a rabbit hole and try to fix problems that aren’t there in a way that’s so self-deprecating and unnecessary that it starts to feel like I’m involuntarily harassing people. I’m still haunted by visions of me trying to fix things that were never wrong in the first place. Too many people from my past haunt my dreams and when I wake up, my pillow drips into the bucket as well. Today, nothing has changed. I misread people in a way that makes me feel like I should be back in second grade learning social skills again.

Enough time has passed to let the bucket fill to the top. Every drop could be the one that overflows it. I don’t know what will happen when it pours onto the floor. Will I start filling it again? Will I start trying to fill bigger and bigger basins until I’m the reason that Florida is underwater, or will I drown in the bucket so that I’m no longer the disappointment that I think I am? A drop of sweat burns my eyes. I’m afraid to see what happens when it drains over the edge.

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