Noticing.Thirty-Three

  1. I stir before the alarm goes off. 5:15. Rearranging my blanket nest, my hand brushes my thigh and even in my pre-awake fog, I sense its difference. Tighter. Smoother. The evidence of strength through persistence. There’s a flutter in my gut–maybe I won’t be broken forever.
  2. Ironic, given that I can’t go to the gym today.
  3. It seems odd to write a cover letter and skills-based resume for a low-level, hourly job. The process is weirdly discouraging. It gives me compassion for those hunting daily for survival what I’m casually browsing for distraction.
  4. Replying to a footnote from a two-month-old email with three pages of too-intimate advice and encouragement. My inner critic is screaming; the Holy Spirit is pleased.
  5. I pull up next to a gorgeous woman on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street. She’s texting anxiously, dressed for a formal event at 9 o’ clock in the morning. My heart leaps. I don’t know her, but I know that look. My passenger side window is open, The words form: “It’s going to be okay. You look great.” But I turn the corner in silence. The empathetic anxiety lasts a long time. The shame of avoiding encouraging a stranger because of the fear of judgment will last even longer.
  6. Day 3 of no podcasts/audiobooks. I load my phone with old favourites to keep me company instead: Jewel, Elvis Costello, Hugh Laurie, Frank Turner. She’s mesmerized in the backseat, but whether it’s the music or my unfamiliar singing voice, I couldn’t say.
  7. She clings to my neck as I glide backward through the warm water. She keeps saying “no” and “get down” but laughs the whole time, loving it through the terror. There’s a good metaphor in there somewhere.
  8. Car nap. She snores.
  9. I leave the TV off after last night’s dinnertime fiasco. Her inability to peel herself from the screen to eat makes me feel like a complete garbage person, the kind of parent everyone (including me) judges for using the TV as a babysitter. Feeling the tension between being available to her and needing to get stuff done.
  10. We talk once a year. Text a handful of times. I miss him terribly. I wish it weren’t like this, but I can’t make him love me the way I want him to.

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