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You Volume One

Photo by Blake Lisk

When you get home at 2:30 in the morning, arriving on your quiet street, walking quietly alone to your quiet apartment, it’s only right that your thoughts are at their loudest. Everything is clear and overwhelming. At your door the events of the day melt from your ears to your fingertips, to the mismatched hallway tiles, to the crickets dotting the sidewalk. The tales of broken hearts, the man who aggressively and drunkenly harassed you, the miles apart--all mean nothing.

The only thing is the walk. The steps. Your breathing. The stars.

The fact that you are more awake and more alone now than at any other point in the day may not be a coincidence. Your fingers ache while your mind buzzes. You prop open your computer hoping to have an outlet for what feels like electricity in your bones. Safari won’t cooperate. Never mind that.

You take off your shoes and pants thoughtlessly and leave them strewn on the floor next to your two cats who have flopped about waiting for attention at an unexpected hour. You bend down and run your fingers from their chins to their bellies to their toes and tails. You know this deserves more so you plop clumsily onto the tiles which feel cool against the curve of your cheeks. You give each a big hug followed by a kiss before they both pull away hurriedly toward their food bowls. You knew it would be fleeting, and that makes you smile. It was exactly as you knew it would be.

You walk back to your computer, and it’s still stuck. Go wash your face.

Tonight it’s not impatience that makes you fail to wait for the hot water. You like the immediacy of the cold and how it matches your energy. You let the water run down your chin instead of taking extra care to avoid a mess. Paying attention to the sensation and to your reflection in the mirror. No makeup. No pretense. Dark circles and the beginning of laugh lines. The curves of your body are friendly and not to be pulled and tugged into submission. You in that moment is your favorite version of you. It’s the one you’ve managed to keep for yourself. Very few others have been let in. You’ve forgotten about your ambitions and projects and to-do lists. They will come. They may come. It doesn’t matter. You walk back to the couch and the familiar blue screen is the only light in the room. Bingo.

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