Sleep refused to let go of me that morning. I was six minutes late to my nine a.m. How I stumbled through grammar review and summarizing techniques was beyond me.
I then descended from my comfortable, dangerous bed — because it had claws on the bad days, and it did not let me go. I did not quite understand how I had gotten to the floor, but I stood there nonetheless, and I let my feet guide me to the window.
A thick fog coated the trees rolling over the hills before me. Some of them had already turned, fiery reds and oranges you can’t capture in crayon scribbles or brushstrokes. And I knew it was going to rain.
So I donned my thick green sweater and walked to the coffee shop, the sound of the espresso machine and the scent of fresh brew holding me up. I don’t remember what I ordered, only that the barista seemed flustered because they were all out of cardboard sleeves.
I let the hot cup burn the palms of my hands; it was warm and I felt cold, I felt nothing. I held the door for a man who had some pep in his step, and he said “I hope you have a great day,” and I nodded once with a bob of my head, and I stepped back out into the fog.
The walk back to my room might have been the longest walk of my life, but it wasn’t so bad, because I had company in the elevator. A quiet girl silently acknowledged me, absorbed in her music, and I wanted to ask her how she’d dyed her hair rainbow colors, but I didn’t think it polite to ask. I told her “I hope you have a great day,” and she nodded once with a bob of her head, and I stepped out of the elevator.
My legs brought me to the door, to the room, to the soft bean bag chair on the floor. It didn’t take much time to decide what music to play — something loud and female and punk, something beautiful. I collapsed into the chair. Thirty minutes. You’re allowed thirty minutes to feel.
That was when the rain started. It rose up over the music, so much so that I put my coffee down to open the window. I scooted everything over so I could sit on the windowsill, staring out at the tiny figurines that were cars and buildings and people, and I took in everything the day had been so far. Everything the day before had been.
The words of the song seemed to taunt me, but I wasn’t upset because they were so familiar to my heart that morning. I wondered what he was thinking. I wondered why he had lied to me, why he hadn’t done it sooner.
And then it was time for my group discussion, so I finished my coffee and crept off the windowsill and sat down at my desk to discuss racism and self-determination and performance activists. I’m sure I said something of value, but I don’t know, because my head was under water.
(Modeled after Toward Amnesia by Sarah Van Arsdale)