The travel clock ticked in a comforting rhythm, louder than its size and only the occasional metallic clanking sounds from the fire station opposite her studio gave her means of escape from her thoughts. Like she was able to slide down the pole from her thoughts and leave them aside whilst attending to life in the present.
She’d been out to dinner at a friend’s house the previous night and when she’d gotten home had written late into the night. She would not get up at 5:45am as was her ritual, instead woke at leisure when the earplugs stuffed in to her ears could be suffered no more. Her skin felt weighted, like each pore was filled with lead and her reflection in the gilt mirror, that refused to hang straight on the wall, was puffy and sad. It wasn’t a face she wanted to share. It wasn’t beautiful or radiant and her neck swollen from indulgence and the jaw line that wasn’t, were unacceptable to be paraded on sidewalks or in her neighbourhood cafe.
She had enjoyed the dinner party, it had not been planned and she had given in to an event beyond her control. It had all been made to easy for her to refuse; the ride to her friend’s house, the menu needed no addition from her and she had a blank page in her diary, alongside all the other blank pages. She should make an effort she’d decided. It is what people do. She wanted to feel normal and to partake in an activity that was practiced by the majority.
She had dressed in the black and white printed dress, purchased from a thrift store, it was filmy and made out of an unatural fibre that refused to be shaped into anything but smooth and floaty. Standing on the chair which brought her inline with the mirror, she decided she looked more than passable and her boots gave her the edgy look she aspired to. If there was an eligible man at the party she was prepared and ready.
An hour at her hosts house was spent chopping and chatting, fixing the food together seemed natural though had been performed a hundred times more than the debut it was in reality. Her friend’s husband chipping in like a guest star in a sit com, and expertly flipping the pancakes she would later spread with fig and olive tapenade and devour with a sprinkling of guilt, the condiment accompanied each meal. A surprise guest was a friend from yoga school. Along with her homemade pecan salad she brought with her relief from an evening trying to impress or entice an unwilling male into her lair.
The food was as satisfying as the company. She felt happy she could accomplish an evening in ‘normal world’ and listened with interest to her fellow diners tales and opinions. The husband’s injection of a take on the world driven by interest alone, devoid of guilt or judgement of motivation, was a breeze that agitated the air and brought life in the way that atoms amassed into an object show us the existence of light.
She indulged in the food, so thoughtfully prepared, and allowed herself a second helping of the cinnamon sweet apple pie. After she’d helped the host to turn back the clock, to a time pre dinner party, when the explosion of crockery and porcelain had resumed their static existence on cupboard shelves, she again found herself beside the woman who graciously delivered her back home in her showroom clean Volvo, and left her with another feast ready to be consumed, picked off the bone and digested before she could turn out the light.
She wrote in black ink, words so honest they made her felt sick, until her brain had no more to offer and her hand no longer compelled to spill. Her sleep was heavy and not punctuated by the nagging beep of her alarm clock. She awoke sad. Wanting to cry but strangely grateful at the effect etched by the previous day’s events, painful yet pleasing like a ripe baby tooth or thickened scab. She wished with all her heart she could change things, alter the realisations present in this brand new day. She wished she had been born one of those people who gave up their lives to spoon-feed the sick or raise up the poor. But she hadn’t. She wished she could have been born with a gene that rendered her free of her own self obsession, but she hadn’t. She wished she was cut out to be a wife, a grown up with sexual needs and desires but the memory of that was too distant and painful to ever reach the sea-shore again. She wished she could put other’s needs before her own, be like her siblings and not spend her life indulging her self but she didn’t. She wished she had been graced with the energy and wisdom to turn her passion for food and words into a machine printing money and nourishing others, but inside was just a void, a big cavernous black hole sucked every hope and idea into another world and left her mind devoid of a ladder of invention, and without a surface on which they could adhere. She wished she could stop eating her lunch with breakfast, stop using food as a means of expression, merriment, comfort, interest, detour, confinement and solitude but she couldn’t. She wished she couldn’t remember the names of Presidents, the Kings and Queens the Constellations, capitols of countries, what was a noun and when to use ‘that’ and when to use ‘which’ but she couldn’t. She wished she hadn’t been born a loner, she wished she hadn’t realised this morning, as she half heartedly positioned herself in down dog, that all she really wanted to do was explore herself. To admit to those who hinted at her selfishness, they were right. She wished with all her heart that it wasn’t all about her but it was. Warm tears fell from her puffy face onto her fleece and into the world. She was turned inside out like a dirty sock and it hurt. She didn’t want to do anything but indulge in this thing God had created and she’d tried to fight so hard against. She wanted to be like the people she loved. She wanted to be the people they were, with the traits and quirks, ideals and lives they led which made her heart soften towards them. Mother, friend, wife, carer, artist, singer, entrepreneur; accepting, open-hearted, honest. She wished she was softened with kindness and blessed with a blue print for a life worthy of this world; of which she had tried so hard to acheive but she failed to be with such weakening regularity, it had forged a coping strategy of a world turned in on itself. She had failed. She had tried to manage this life to other’s ability and failed. She had even failed at being herself and indulging in the truth that was her, so well that she didn’t even shine at that. She failed because those things she wanted now seemed too difficult to have. She wasn’t to be a brick in a wall, a brightly coloured flower in a clump with one single root, she wasn’t to be a snowball or a cloud or a crowd or a family or a colleague or a choir. God just hadn’t made her that way. She couldn’t fight it anymore. Yes her mother was right, she had always been a loner, her sister and her sister-in-law where right, she was selfish and vacant. Her need for a husband was a need to cover the fact she could not make a business, couldnt generate money and all the longed for relationship would have given her was the knowledge she could not even generate love. She held on to the idea of a man in her past, the only one who had made her feel she was actually capable of caring for something so deeply she forgot herself, she thought, in the end, she would have probably ruined that too. She wished she didn’t want to remain single but she did.
She wished she knew what to do with herself now….. her fingers poised on the keyboard ready to dictate the answer that would come flowing over the lobes of her brain bit it the answer was an arid desert……and truth was, she didn’t. The clock still ticked, the fireman’s voices still surfed on the chill wind across the street to her window, and only her bladder, now painfully bringing her out of the internal world she swam in, made her know it was time to face the day and only retrospect would tell her whether she accomplished it honestly, as herself, or not.