Morning Variation

The tumbling, off-key tunes that start from motors, and morning in mourning – something comes of this. It startles you a bit as you stagger from your bedroom to the kitchen for a cup of coffee that you haven’t bothered to make yet.

You get all weary with wheezing. Images pelt your brain with stones, teasing you as they do. Today is going to be, well… not a good day exactly.

You have the usual host of anxieties to contend with: your bank balance, near empty gas tank, the existence of others, and why your baser instincts always seem to win out when you catch sight of a pretty girl in a summer dress, for instance.

These you’re accustomed to, the way you grew accustomed to that hangnail after weeks of not doing anything about it. You couldn’t handle it at first, how it drilled into your skin and stayed there, laughing at you. And you made a half-hearted effort to remove it, but to your dismay you found this was much more painful than just leaving it be, so that’s what you did. And yes, you got used to it. You barely even noticed it.

Back in the present moment, you barely notice that your eyes haven’t quite adjusted to being open yet, and the sizeable deposits of crusted mucus that lingers in the corners that perhaps you’ll dig out later. You barely notice your cat trotting beside you, expecting that soon you’ll feed her despite the fact that you haven’t yet been to the store to buy more food for her. You barely notice that you’ve once again let the dishes pile up in the sink, dishes that you were just too apathetic to even rinse and if left as they are, will make a tantalizing prospect for the cockroaches that thrive in this neighborhood during the summer months.

You’re barely noticing at all, being in your pre-caffeine trance. Even after you’ve satisfied your need, you’ll still barely notice anything. Lately, you haven’t found much in life that’s worth noticing. Outside the window, a gray gauze has fallen about the sky. People in cars wait for the red light to change to green. The forecast is calling for rain.

You rummage around your cupboard searching for the coffee you crave, and as you do, your thoughts begin to wander through the dense forest your memory is. You start remembering a time that in the grand scheme of things wasn’t so very long ago, but from your present position seems a gulf away. A time where you felt a little stronger, a little more ready to meet the world head-on.

How you used to stay up nights with friends, not a large group but a close one, drinking cheap beer and talking about the things that interested you, that you felt passion for, how nice it felt to belong somewhere in a town that otherwise had no use for you; a creative type, a philosophic type, a hungry for everything type.

How you used to get in your car and start driving, not caring where you’d end up because as long as it was somewhere you’d never been before you’d feel content, and even if it ended up being a disappointment, you at least got to enjoy the freedom of the road, some swell tunes, and forgetting about everything for a while.

How you used to honestly truly authentically feverishly believe that you were so full of potential and if you wanted it badly enough, you’d be a famous writer beloved by the lonely beautiful people everywhere, bathing nightly in wealth and adoration before going to sleep upon a bed of leisure.

You see before you, so clear and vivid, the person you once were, all full of hope and drive, and you reach out your hand to grab him, pull him towards you and into you, bring this lost wanderer back home again, and just as it seems he’s within your grasp, he disperses in a wisp of fumes, leaving you once again alone. No hope. No drive. No anything. You’re alone.

Dejected, you sigh and grab a half-empty package of pre-ground coffee instead.

-r. miller


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