In the Morning of the Living.
I wake to the sounds of a stranger rummaging through the recycling bin outside of my apartment building again.
Rolling over, wishing to go back to my slumber but seeing the light starting to stream through the blinds. The clock tells me I’m early. Can I go back to sleep for just a moment? My bladder says no, so I stumble to the bathroom trying to be quiet and not awaken the sleeping zombie in my teenagers bed.
After peeing I wash my hands and look up into the bathroom mirror. Again surprised to see the face of the middle-aged woman who stares back at the younger me who lives inside of this older graying shell. I’m always surprised to see her instead. I wonder whose idea it was to put a mirror above the bathroom sink? I watch her stare back at me as she flosses and brushes the teeth she didn’t floss or brush before bed last night. She washes her face and combs her hair.
That’s as good as it’s going to get today.
In the closet I strip off my shorts and tank top and replace them with yoga pants and another identical but clean tank top.
I wander back to the living room that also serves as my bedroom and slowly lower myself to the rug. I lie still on my back for a moment and the faint scent of feet reminds me again that this rug needs to be cleaned. I glance over at my yoga mat leaning pristinely against the wall but decide I don’t have the energy to roll it out, so I complete all of my physical therapy exercises on the feet rug instead.
I lay there for a moment afterwards. I should meditate. I should journal. I look at the clock. Not enough time for that.
In the kitchen I pour a bowl of Cheerios, sighing as a few roll across the counter and onto the floor. I wince in pain as I bend to pick them up and throw them away. I drizzle a smidge of liquid gold honey across the bowl admiring the pattern and sparkle under the bright kitchen light.
Setting my bowl down at the kitchen table I sit and eat while rifling through the long list of today’s e-mails on my phone. Doctors’ confirmations, bills, messages from the high school and school district, nonsense, junk mail. Nothing particularly interesting. Nothing just for me. Nothing special. I confirm and reply and answer what I can and then decide to deal with the remaining messages later.
It’s getting late.
If I don’t get out the door soon the sun will be up and it will be too late for me to walk.
I stick my phone in my sports bra and jot down a quick message on a Post-it note:
Went for a walk.
Be back soon.
I remove the charging cord from their phone, turn off airplane mode and stick the note to it. Tip-toeing into their bedroom I set it gently onto the pillow next to them. I stop for a moment and admire the sleeping beauty that has grown up before my eyes and then quietly retreat closing the curtain and then the door behind me.
I grab the sparkly blue fanny pack that is the most not-me thing that I own, then fasten it at my waist. I slip my feet into my dust covered walking shoes and think for the umpteenth time, I need to wash these already.
Keys in one hand and walking sticks in the other I step outside into a cool, foggy wonderland. I stand at the door for a moment and enjoy the crispy scent of the morning. The eucalyptus trees with a hint of salty ocean air. The scent that gets me through the bad days and that I’m grateful for on the good.
Today is a good day.
Today I am grateful.
Today I am living.
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