It'd been another long night. Work was endless, progress a mirage. Acceleration only spinning wheels - as one item was addressed, three appeared to take its place.
Dawn’s light arose. Silvery peach light peaked thru the office blinds. Heavy eyes batted against it, trying to read the words on the screen in tandem with fighting their attempt to close, to rest.
|"Late Night Coffee" (via)|
The Starbucks across the street had just opened. A cigarette preceded the walk, a better life through chemicals — nicotine, then caffeine. The wind blew, the rumpled mess upon my head shuffled and settled. My mouth felt pasty, sticky, slow to respond: like my brain, weighted at the hinges.
I wandered across the street.
Crowded early, damn, so many people. All these people starting their new day, me still living the previous one. "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Shut up.
Entering with rumpled clothing, weighted countenance. Two days beard growth covering my face, a physical representation of my life — continuing despite an inability to handle the present or the preceding, progressing on while unable to participate in the motion.
I had thought many times about the casual meeting. A relationship built from a momentary passing… pollination from the unexpected bee lighting upon the faded bloom. Did I ever bloom? Does a faded bud count? Whatever.
It happened all around me. Magical moments landing upon friends only cast me in their reflection, never seemed to greet me in light. It happened in movies. I’d attempted it even — so long ago, so very long ago, back when I was trying. Make my own movie. But no Parting Glances video store clerk dating for me. That attempt, starting with flirting, turned to an evening that still stung a little in remembrance. Not as much as other relationship failures, but still. There was to be no meeting within the passing of a simple event. That happened to others. Not to me. Where’s my coffee?
“Can I get a drink started for you”, she asked, irritatingly cheerful.
“Triple tall non-fat latte”, I responded, thinking the line was beyond long. Couldn’t some of these people be somewhere else?
“Tom” I said, twice, in response to the query for my name. Pay attention. Get me my coffee.
“Mmm, Tom” a voice beside me said. As I reflexively turned, “Oh did I say that aloud” he responded to my glance.
I said something pithy in response, I don’t remember what. Something about how things occasionally emerge from your mouth on a direct path from your brain — bypassing any control mechanism. A thought believed to be unspoken, suddenly voiced aloud, consequences following. An event I was familiar with, as my “career” evidences.
“Yeah, particularly tough in this instance” he said in reply to whatever I’d said. Was he flirting with me? Couldn’t he see me? What?
Man, I wanted to sleep, not be here, not go back to work. Where’s my coffee?
“Keep smiling,” he said, amidst the line progressing.
Was I smiling? Did I smile? He was all morning — I was all night. I needed a shower, feeling less than the limited amount that I could be on my best day. All scarred and burdened with yesterdays.
I got my coffee and exited, concerned with the work that remained to be done… clouded. I was across the street with my coffee before I caught up with the occurrence that was part of its purchase.
A movie moment had occurred. Not the dream vision of the perfect match casually dancing thru my life while I was fully engaged and ready for the melody … but a guy, possibly cool, talking, reaching, introducing — while I was anything but there, anything but ready for an invitation to join in with the music.
|via Trigger Image|
The phone rang, and my voice mail barely picked up … ending the call before it had completed.
Protection born from the past producing an unavailability that extended, encompassed, surrounded… that became all. I was barely there behind the protective fortress.
Amongst the weight of overnight work, smothered by responsibility pressuring to be addressed, burdened with past pain and loss, stifled behind shielding walls …
There was a knock on the door. Unavailable, I had no answer.
updated somewhat from original version written in 2005