Day 15: Bullet-point your whole day.
- It’s cold and cloudy and the only thing making me wake up today is the cat pacing the foot of my bed eager for breakfast. I roll out of bed, stumble to the kitchen. Both cats follow me in a flurry of belled collars and padded paws. I don’t measure the food I dump into the bowl. I stumble back to bed, drift in and out of sleep for two more hours.
- I roll out of bed again, and it’s still cloudy and cold but I can’t sleep anymore. I stumble into the shower and remain under the water way too long.
- I change three times. I’m nervous. I’m attending a dinner party with my coworkers tonight, and I don’t know how anyone else will dress. I don’t know what they’ll make. I don’t know who to ask. So I throw ingredients for cheddar corn into the slowcooker, let the weather dictate my choices: comfort and warmth.
- I change one more time. The shirt doesn’t fit quite right in the shoulders. Nothing ever fits quite right in the shoulders.
- I go downstairs with my arm full of casserole dish and shoulder weighed down with a new purse I’m not used to carrying yet. I think I’ll be early, standing around in the chill for a minute, so I’m wearing a hat, but my coworker is already waiting for me in front of my house, and I feel uncomfortable that I didn’t realize she was there before. I feel uncomfortable having needed to ask for a ride at all.
- I’m glad I wore heels, even if everyone else is the same height as me. Feeling tall makes me feel older, and I’m by far the youngest one there.
- My former supervisor and director walk in, and I realize it’s the first time I’ve interacted with them as something like equals. I’m allowed to joke and not worry about professionalism. The line has already blurred beyond recognition with many of my colleagues. They’ve worked together too long. They know each other too well. It’s frustrating and envious in equal measure.
- There is so much food.
- My former supervisor takes her guide dog’s work vest off, lets him lay on my feet during dinner. Any time my leg starts bouncing from nerves, he shoves his cold wet nose into my palm.
- There is a flurry of motion after dinner. Reaching for containers, sorting dishes, claiming foods. Too many hands, feet, voices. My hip is pressed into the table’s edge, food is shoved into my empty hands.
- As we pile into the car, I don’t notice the clouds anymore. It’s so rare to see the stars from where we are, anyway. The high school stadium’s floodlights drown out their glow. It’s too cold for me to miss them.
- I kick off my heels with a satisfying flick of my ankle. Curl into my favorite hoodie. My cats feel they have waited long enough for their routine evening nap, one cat on each side of my legs, filling my twin-sized bed. I don’t make my ritual nighttime tea, hopeful that the day has exhausted me enough to sleep, and allow them to lead me to bed. I have been marathoning 99% Invisible all weekend, and I return to it while I crochet.
- I swear at my blanket, at my overly ambitious project pile, remind myself that frustration is not an excuse to quit, promise myself I’ll try again tomorrow.
- I sleep, but only in 90 minute intervals. I dream of a car that meant choices, of book stores, of hiding from angry bosses, of high school cafeterias.