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Originally published November 5, 2012 on

Today I find myself restless, which seems to be the only way I can find myself these days. I sit watching a movie I have seen many times before, look at the screen and say aloud and to nobody at all “Just do it.” I have no idea where it comes from; my heart or my throat, or what it’s for. But I take it to mean “go get in the shower and actually start your day.” And so I do. I shower, feeling the sting of the hot water splashing on my freezing toes, making them feel as if they might just break off. I dry my hair and get dressed; first in a red dress with brown tights, and then in my skinny jeans and a scarf. Nothing really seems to feel right today, but the jeans and scarf are familiar and so they are my choice. I slip on my boots and walk to my car. If I were awake I might notice the vibrant orange leaves crunching under my feet. I might feel the breeze and marvel at the beauty of it all, but I haven’t been awake for a while. I don’t suspect I will wake up today. I drive to nowhere in particular. I just drive. Taking the turns that my car feels compelled to explore. Of course I find my Starbucks, because what good is a random wandering if it doesn’t take you home eventually?

As I sit here drinking my Gingerbread latte in a red, holiday cup, I have a sad and yet comforting realization. I have lived this day before. I have felt this emptiness and dull drumming of hunger at some other moment of my life. Perhaps it's been all I've ever known. Perhaps I will never wake from it. And yet, the strange thing is, I think I'm okay with that. I am comfortable with the warm dripping of espresso and the bleakness of a grey sky. I am happy to hear leaves crunching beneath my worn black boots and to feel the biting cold air on my nose and cheeks. I am somehow awake in this groggy slumber.

I understand now that this is all there is. I will age. I will hear "I love you" and "Congratulations" and "I'm sorry." I will watch those I love pass away or move to other states. I will get hired, and I will quit. I will take up new hobbies and find things I think bring me happiness, and I will forget those things that I used to like, sometime ago just beyond the reach of my memory. What was the name of that friend I knew so well before? Oh it doesn't matter anymore....I will sometimes smile and I will sometimes cry. But crying doesn't bother me. When I cry, I am awake. I feel the sting of salt in small cuts in my lip from biting them too hard.

And through everything, I know I will come back here. I know I will come back to this place of quiet contemplation where everything seems so easy and clear. Where the worst and best thing are both the same: acceptance. I will revisit this forever. But for now, I have to leave. I have to walk back to my car, drive the familiar route that no longer requires my attention, and make my way to my home and rest. Because tomorrow I will wake up, and I will need my strength to do this again, one time more.

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