Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 @ 9:39 pm
At four am, I rise and pull up the blind. I sit and look out over the rooftops, illuminated by streetlights. Fluffy snow falling silently.
My insides are tight. This is my last morning here. I fight the feeling for a while, and then I notice that I'm fighting it and look for a way to release it.
I find myself saying aloud in a shaky voice, "I'm scare..." and before I can finish saying the word, I collapse into crying. Fat tears landing on my bare legs. Shaking. I know now the name of the tight feelings.
I breathe into the fear. It's OK. It's OK. You're OK. This is scary, but you'll be OK.
I stand up and feel the rush of my period arriving. The discovery shocks me back into the present, and I appreciate the perfection of this moment. Today is the first day of the next part of my life, and my body just tore off last month's page from the calendar.
This is my last morning in my house. My last cup of coffee. My last time sweeping the kitchen floor. My last time shovelling the driveway. My last time saying good morning to my neighbour. My last time driving away.
I drive the loaded car over to my office to drop off my key. The office is empty, and I sit for a while in my old chair looking at my desk and feeling sad. The familiar banging and voices from the coffee shop below. The way the light falls across the hardwood floors. The tree branches outside, each traced with an outline of crisp, white snow.
As I drive out of town and merge onto the highway, I can barely breathe.
The bouquet, sad but still worthy of appreciation, travels with me again along this stretch of highway.
Two hours later, I am filling up with gas, and a truck pulls up at the other pump. A man in camo clambers out, walks around to the back of his truck, flips down the tailgate, and starts filling jerry cans.
I need to refill the washer fluid. I'm not sure how to lift the hood - I know there is a clasp that I need to release but have never done it with this car. I delay the process by cleaning off the headlights and side mirrors with the squeegee. I don't want the man to come help me; I want to do this myself. I give up waiting, pop the hood, and then start to run my hands under it to find the lever. There's something obstetrical about this. The man doesn't glance over. I find the lever, push it this way and that and finally figure it out and the hood opens. Triumphant, I glug the washer fluid down into the thirsty plastic gullet.
And then I go into the gas station to deal with my period.
This is how it is now. Do the man things; do the woman things. Just do everything.
I stop later, pulling over on a side road, for fresh air. To gaze out over the arid landscape, dry grasses punctuating a thin blanket of fresh snow. A raven appears before me on a fence post. He clucks and turns his head to the side. Fluffs up his downy bloomers and hunches low to warm his knobby knees. And then lifts off into the sky.
I arrive in the city to a wintery sunset, the sky layered with clouds tinged peach and mauve. The mountains dusted and faded with fresh snow.
I feel hollow. I am scared. I don't know what I'm doing. I am unmoored. I could go anywhere. I feel doubt.
I need a soft place to land. I need a home. I need a nest to feather. I need to rest in one place, at length. I am a piece of driftwood, washing from one shore to another, tossed out in the waves for a while, lodged on the sand while the tide ebbs.
Come pick me up, tuck me under your arm, and take me home. I will leave a trail of sand, but my edges are knocked off, and the soft curves of my weathered shape will feel natural and warm in your hands.
Let me rest on your mantel a while.
Let me pretend that I have a home.