Dec 30, 2011

Really Liking Today

It's winter. It's practically January and it's so mild outside. It's just perfectly rainy and gray. It's not even necessary to wear a heavy winter coat. This is my favorite kind of winter day. The trees are bare and dark against a pale white sky and the traffic sounds so pretty if not ever so slightly expectant after it has rained. I really love the way the traffic sounds after it has rained. I'm conditioned by this sound to both relax and focus and actually be wherever I am in the world instead of stuck in some loop inside my brain. Don't get me wrong, I like dry weather, too. And I like snow. I even kind of miss the snow right now. As well, the way snow alters the sound of the traffic. But it's different. The snow-traffic sound seems more fraught. Maybe even a little bit dramatic. It emphasizes how slow and defensively people are driving. This, though inspiring, is way less relaxing than rain-traffic sounds and more like a reminder to get back indoors. Not that it won't snow soon. It will--until then, there's today. 

Dec 21, 2011

Religious Experience

Today, now officially three days before Christmas Eve, is awesome. The day each year when I suddenly decide that I like Christmas. But--where did all the time go? There's so much to do! There's the frosting of the cookies. The wrapping of the gifts. The making of the antipasto. As well, there's the arranging of miniature pickles on a plate. The forcing radishes to look like roses. The stuffing olives with bleu cheese. The replicating a 1/4" scale Westminster Abbey out of Wheat Thins. Then, the moment of silence happens. It's just a lull but I find that I've come to rely on this one silent moment each year to renew and make 'blank' my life and brain. Then, on the day itself, there is the Doing Of Nothing. This state of being interrupted only occasionally by the experience of The Eating Of The Christmas Cookies (made lovingly by my mom) of which there are several varieties: There are the cut-out frosted cookies which are crisp, decorative and not-too-sweet. There are the chocolate layer cookies that cannot be explained other than to say that there are never enough of them (which I believe is by design). And, incredibly, there are the Russian tea cakes which melt in your mouth, transport you to a better place, solve all of your problems and somehow make you accept your own mortality--even if only briefly. Oh, and there are the pretzels dipped in chocolate for which I have no opinion.

Dec 11, 2011

Nothing Happened

Wednesday 3 am
You wake up confused by all the coughing. Then you realize that it's you that is coughing. How long have I been coughing? You cough and cough even though your lungs are clear--and that's the thing--your lungs are just not getting that there is no reason to be coughing like this. You're disoriented, exhausted and covered in sweat. For a moment you wonder if this is actually your death-day. 

4 am
You manage your way in semi-darkness to the bathroom to find the cough syrup. A small herd of concerned kittens has collected around you and are all meowing. You answer their questions but they seem unconvinced. Your boyfriend, who is already downstairs getting you tea, has, thankfully, not yet caught this cold. 

Work goes okay until about 3 pm where, while in the middle of a sentence, you lose your voice. Completely. You try to clear your throat but it's no use. This is funny for about twenty minutes. Finally, you just go home. You have no voice. 

You stay on the couch all day with your laptop, a glass of hot tea and your phone. You text people. All people--even your mom. After all, you can't talk. And you find that this simplifies many things. 

Your voice starts coming back. Somewhere between 40% and 60%. Though you no longer have any other symptoms, you decide to make soup and remain in pajamas all day. You wrap a blanket around yourself. You 'can't talk', you rasp, you 'have no voice'. 

To your utter dismay your voice is back 100%. It's actually an improvement on your old voice. You've never felt better in your life. Still, you keep checking your glands and clearing your throat only to find that you aren't in any pain. You are well. Healthy. Your voice is clear as a bell. No matter, you think, one more day of bed rest and pure silence can't hurt anything.  

You can't believe the text you have jokingly composed to your boss while waiting for the coffee to brew: You are 'so sorry' but you 'might need another day or so'--you stop yourself right there--what am I doing? You deliberate. You take out the 'or so'. You press 'send'. You regret it instantly.

You return to work and begin talking to people again--just like that--though considerably less than before. You're even a few minutes early. It's as though nothing happened. 

Dec 4, 2011

Roman Sat Uncomfortably

Roman sat uncomfortably in the old red leather banquette with the worn arm rests. He was waiting in the designated waiting area that was really just a narrow hallway between two offices. The walls there had been painted an umber-yellow and there was a window with a too-small sheer curtain above where Roman sat. Sometimes he could hear their voices beyond the door but not what they were saying. Why, Roman wondered. Why must I always be waiting for her? He looked up and noticed a potted plant balanced precariously on the window sill above his head. The plant was dead. 

I must forgive Gus.

Those had been his father's dying words: I must forgive Gus. You must forgive me and I must forgive myself. 

How, Roman wondered, did the old man manage all of that in the last few hours of his life? How was that even possible? But that was exactly what Roman's father had done. As though forgiveness were so simple, Roman thought. As though the alternative were somehow--!



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