October 20, 2010

In Which I Write My Future. Or, Is This Too Much To Ask For? [Part I]

The alarm goes off, and it takes me too long to realize that I'm the one who has to turn it off.  The room is cold, but my blankets are warm.  My deepest moments of gratitude always come before wakefulness, when my warm bed holds me without suffocating and I'm in the space between day and night.  A deep breath of gratitude before I take that quick breath and swing my legs over the side of my bed. Inhale.  If I could form a coherent thought, I would note that there was a time when getting up meant walking across my ground level mattresses and stepping off the end into the space between the two walls no wider than my two mattresses.  I would note it and file it away quickly, because early-morning-before-dawn isn't conducive to measuring strides and steps forwards and backwards.  I walk to the shower in the dark and don't open my eyes until I'm standing under the hot water, almost scorching, almost soothing.  Slowly coaxing me into my day. 

Not until the shower clicks off does my day begin.  I don't spend enough time drying off and slip down the hallway on the bottoms of my wet feet.  It's a mad dash to dress before the goosebumps become permanent.  I've learned from piles of discarded outfits to chose the night before and promise myself not to think long enough in the morning to change my mind.  This is not a difficult promise to keep.  My long underwear hugs my damp skin too closely, and I tell myself to slow down, but it's too late - I already have one leg in my pants and an arm in my shirt.  I don't take the time to revel in my secret undergarments, choosing a warm, comfy secret over Victoria's secret, and I know that hours later I'll laugh to myself at the thought of navy long underwear tucked tightly under this business attire.  It's the type of secret that somebody who can always stand to gain ten pounds can safely keep. 

Before my hair is dry, I'll race downstairs and out the door for a shock sentence of cold.  Pull my car out of the garage into the dark and start it, turning the heat dial to high.  Race back inside, tripping over the dog, and feeling badly for not reaching down.  I'll dry my hair and check my make-up, evaluating how well I covered those dark circles - never well enough.  This time I stop to say goodbye to the dog.  We have our morning routine of "lick and dodge" where she does the licking and I dodge her tongue - my face needs all the help it can get; I can't let her lick off my haphazardly applied make-up.  Our time together is never long enough.  I race out the house and down the garage stairs every morning with the fears of falling down the stairs and depleting the ozone with my running car.  Scold myself for a dirty car and hair still semi-wet but promise myself not to get stuck in this mood.  You are always cranky before morning coffee and all that comes next.  Let it pass.

Pull out of the drive way while turning the heat down and the radio on.  Blow a kiss to the garage door closing. So grateful for that garage.  And what is behind it.  I leave fifteen minutes early so I can pop into Starbucks and fill my most recent travel mug with a latte without fear of being late.  Some mornings we chat, some mornings we just smile - 6:15 am is quiet and maybe that is how we like it best.  The first sip is all of the days past and all of the days to come and this moment today.  Zen.  Empty and full.  As it ever was/is/will be.  I drive too quickly between stoplights and pull into the parking space too slowly.  I'll wait for the train in silence, grateful for long underwear and hot lattes.  It isn't until I'm sitting on the train that the fear of being late finally subsides, always unwarranted, but ever-present.  It isn't until then that I can reach for my ipod and the day finally becomes mine. 

My first transfer comes twenty-five minutes later.  They hold the next train for us, and we step across the platform and scan for a seat.  I learned more than a decade ago to sit facing west, on the south side, as close to the window as possible.  The sun coming up over the East River will make my heart race and I will remember that this is almost what love feels like.  Until then, I'll scan my ipod and hit repeat more times than I would like to admit.  Pull out my ipad and cringe.  Try not to look around sheepishly at imagined scorn.  The ipad's new and it lets me keep up-to-date-on internet happenings and stay connected to e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. and it's perfect because the train doesn't have wifi and verizon doesn't have an iphone service, but every morning I have to brush aside that feeling of you do not have enough to have this.  Brush aside the concern that I function too often in the realm of You Do Not Deserve This and rationalize that I negotiated an ipad for a three hour commute.  One way.  Firmly state, almost out loud, "I have the better end of this deal."  The sun does shine over the East River. 

I'm grateful that Grand Central underground doesn't turn me into a sweaty July mess, but I lose myself to the sea of black suits.  I do nothing more than hope they'll carry me through the chaotic halls and onto the subway where I begin, again, to worry that I will be late.  Where I close my eyes and wait until I'm above ground, covering the last few blocks in winter boots with dress pants tucked tightly around my ankles.  I'll peel off layers when I get to my office.  Change into heeled shoes and remember days when I did Important Work in sneakers, but I'll still look down with a glance at heels tucked under the desk.  Remember that this, too, is Important Work.  Smile quietly.


  1. This is beautiful. I love reading your writings, and I never comment enough. Thank you for writing this & sharing. I hope you get everything you want; it is never too much to ask for happiness.

  2. Thank you, Alivia. Your comment just made my week. =) I am so, so happy that you're reading (and enjoying)!!