I opened my eyes, threw off the covers, and jumped out of bed. I ran to my window and looked outside. What a beautiful sight it was, the first day of summer vacation! I stripped out my pajamas, put on my favorite pair of summer jeans and one of my t-shirts that mom wouldn’t let me wear to school. “That shirt is to torn up for you to go to school in, go change.” It was summer now though, so that didn’t matter.
I pulled some socks on and started to head downstairs. Thud, thud, thud, thud. Midway down, I paused, turned and clamored back up to my room. I dashed in, hastily yanked the covers over my bed and tossed all the dirty clothes on my floor into the closet. I knew mom wouldn’t let me out of the house until my room was clean, so I figuredf I’d beat her to it.
Henry sat on the hard church pew and closed his eyes, blocking out the world around him except for the hauntingly beautiful sound of the choir. He let his fears run away with the alto line, his worries plod along with the bass notes, his prayers found harmony with the tenors while is hopes and dreams soared high over it all with the sopranos.
A baby began to fuss in the pew behind him. His mother quietly whispered reassuring sounds as she rocked him back and forth, her melody gently mixing and melding with the words of the choir.
Henry’s hands rested gently on his lap, fingers intertwined. The strong thick fingers and rough calluses from years of hard work did not seem to belong with the finely pressed dark suit they were resting on.
The song continued to cascade over the congregation. Henry sat motionless, soaking up every moment, feeling more alive with every passing measure. As always, he wished it would never end. Here, in the music, he found solace. Here, his spirit was free, dancing, laughing, singing and ultimately disappearing into the sound of the singing.
I’m waiting for the phone to ring. But it never does when I want it to. Plus, even if it did ring, there would be no one on the other end. I enjoy my solitude, beating to my own drummer, having a flexible schedule, spending time mainly with me. Even so, after so many hours in the company of myself, I want and need someone else around to interact with—most of the time.
Right now is one of those times. I feel friendless, boring, unwanted and pathetic. Come on phone, ring!…nothing to do but take a deep breath and a long sigh. Try to figure out what I will now do with the new hours of emptiness in front of me that I hadn’t planned for because I was hoping to share them with someone else.
I am waiting to wake up and start living. To get out of bed one morning, look around and think, “Damn girl! This is your life! What a dream.” I’m not sure that day will ever come. My life is too much of an enigma to me, I’m unsure of whether or not I’ll ever figure out how to live it gracefully. I’ll think I’ve finally succeeded in grasping it, only to find it wiggle and squirm right out of my hands once again.
I sometime try to imagine what I might look like to someone watching from “up above.” The image that pops into my head now is a long, wide, empty wooden floor, slathered in oil and melted butter. I’m bare foot at one end, and have to make it to the opposite side. Before starting on the journey, I dip my feet in a pot of the same mixture covering the floor and set out. I am also not allowed to crawl. What I sight I must be. Hey, at least my plight is good entertainment for someone. There is a little solace in that thought.
Alice sighed, blowing her long blonde bangs out of her eyes as she looked out the window for the umpteenth time in the last 15 minutes. She already knew that she’d see nothing, but couldn’t stop herself. She glanced down at her phone and out the window one more time before turning towards the couch. She slipped out of her brown summer sandals and folded her feet up underneath her on the soft cushion. She reached for her book and flipped open to her bookmark, trying to make herself believe that there was nothing else in the world she’d rather be doing.
She had promised herself that this time would be different, but so far old habits were proving hard to change. Alice was tired of being needy, insecure and, yes, controlling whenever she made it within 20 feet of a (possible) romantic relationship. Something about even the idea of “dating” someone made her brain chemistry go all funny and turned her into someone she herself hardly even recognized. She felt like a stranger in her own skin.
Because of this, Alice had largely given up on dating over the last several years, opting instead to make friends out of the enjoyable male company she met. This allowed her to be herself, particularly around men. She much preferred the “normal,” friend version of Alice (who admittedly, was a likeable, relatable and joyful person) rather than the crazy puddle of helplessness she became at the slightest whisper of love or romance.
Largely, this strategy had been working for years. Yes, there was the occasional declaration of unfulfilled love from a handful of her male friends, but those hardly caused ripples in the water, since she simply refused to consider the possibility.
This time, she had so far managed to rise above her Dr. Alice Jekyll and, for the most part, keep her cool—or so she thought. No wonder she had stuck to making guy friends over the years