A truck beeps as it backs up outside my window, faint but still audible. The absence of the air conditioning hum means the room is growing slowly warmer. The beeping has now been replaced with a faint siren. I am itchy. The cat walks around the room attending to things she sees, or thinks she sees. The itchiness makes me feel like there are bugs crawling on me. Folding over the coffee table I am once again keenly aware that I am not as flexible as I once was. My hips feel tight in the creases. I am growing hot and thirsty. I feel the need to look at my phone, what a stupid thing. An extra limb.
August 28, 2017
My hands cramp as I write. A low rumble underneath me, the train moving ever forward. I am uncomfortable. The seat is hard against my back but cool. Vacant stares in front of me. Surprisingly few looking at their screens. Five stops to go. My exposed toes cold from a draft of AC. A high-pitched screech now and then when the train jostles side to side. A fragrant bouquet of various perfumes. A fluorescent light inside and quickly passing tunnel light bulbs outside. Hand still cramping and now sweaty.
August 29, 2017
The air feels thick, the clouds low and swollen with rain. It is dark in this room, it seems to mirror my insides. My body feels heavy, so does my brain. Slow and sluggish. Quiet besides the barely audible ticking of a clock and a car passing by now and then. The faintest smell of nature, in my mind I believe it’s the smell of rain coming through the open window. The bench beneath me is hard as is the table I sit at, the grains of wood brushing along my wrist as I write. I feel reluctantly anticipatory about what this day and week will bring. Can I go back to bed instead?
August 30, 2017
A bird is quietly singing out of my window and the sound of my cat relentlessly scratching at the pretty blue upholstery of my chair. The tv plays in front of me but without sound. Somehow it makes me feel less lonely. The sun is shining in that glassy crisp kind of way that makes you feel like fall is near. Or do I just imagine that? Trees dance beneath the bottom of the shaded window. Breakfast is ready.
I sit uncomfortably on the couch feeling the mix of bread and cheese which I consumed not too long ago groaning and moving in my stomach. The air conditioner hums and the dancing trees cast ghostly shadows along the floor. The light is that of an early summer evening. The sun is lower in the sky but the heat is still capable of choking you.
August 22, 2017
My skin feels awake, tingly from the cold air of the air conditioner. The rest of me throbs. A dull underlying pain lingering and reminding me of the mistakes I made yesterday. My legs grow tired and uncomfortable in the pretzel position they are in. My body tells me I’m not as young as I imagine myself to be. The constant hum of the air conditioning occasionally spitting like it’s displacing water which has gone down the wrong pipe. The cat crouches in the hallway, eyes focused on something I cannot see. I feel as though I’m in my cool safe haven, afraid to go outside for fear that the heat will consume me.
August 23, 2017
Vivaldi plays in my ears. Actually, Joshua Bell playing Vivaldi plays in my ears. The theater feels suddenly quiet. There is a coziness to this vast space. The red velvet walls feel like they are hugging you. The work lights turn a giant room meant for dramatics into something seemingly more approachable. Sirens ring outside above the soothing music in my ears. There is a slight chill in the air, perhaps the only thing keeping me from wanting to lie down and take a nap. My body hurts in places I didn’t really know it could. The side of my right big toe and the part in my hair. A female voice… someone is on the phone in the mezzanine speaking loudly and I am reminded that not everyone is brought up with the same social rules ingrained in them. My lips tingle in that way just before they become chapped. What is that thing that I’ve heard about becoming addicted to chapstick? A prop man comes around to clean the seats and the smell is sharp and tickles my throat.
The slow hiss and purr of the air conditioner overwhelms the room. A sound of dripping water in the background. The air is vaguely cool. The light is that of dim sunshine trying to poke through a sky full of clouds. Though I can’t see outside I sense it is puddle filled. Will there be more rain? I fold myself in half facing the wrong way on my bed. It was comfortable but now quiet aches are growing louder in multiple places. My stomach and head want me to stop writing but I’m telling them no for now. A low dull pressure starts at the base of my skull.
August 19, 2017
I sit just one speck on a giant stage usually packed with people. Warm leather beneath me, a smell of old dusty curtains, a low hum of energy constant above me and yet it feels quiet. Three people chatter in the distance and the sound comes to me in waves. Sounds of children even more distant. The set is resting. It worked hard to impress those who inhabited (temporarily) its home and now gets a moment of respite. Empty chairs (and empty tables) still cooling from the bodies which were recently attached to them.
August 20, 2017
I lay uncomfortably sprawled across my bed. The things we did as kids aren’t as comfortable anymore. The shower water runs in the other room, another human’s presence. Music plays in another room. A quiet comfortable lazy day. Home. I am not too warm and not too cool. The soft bedspread beneath me not yet plagued with copious amounts of cat fur. My belly pleasantly satiated and a lemony aftertaste lingers in my mouth.
Lately, I’ve noticed that I spend most of my days thinking about the past or considering the future rather than keeping myself present in the moment. I’ve been trying to ground myself more and really observe what is going on around me in an effort to stay more present. I’ve attempted to write in a journal daily and when I do that, I usually take a moment to describe exactly what is going on around me. I write down what I see, feel, hear, and smell. I don’t edit what I write or attempt to sound any particular way. I’ve really enjoyed going back and reading these excerpts and thought I’d share them here in hopes that they might inspire you to stay more present as well. Or maybe you’ll just get a good laugh. I’ll also try to include a photo taken on one of the days I’ve written about just for funsies.
Saturday, August 12th
Ceramic bowl crusted with a sugary thick layer of milk, not the color it started out as. The AC purrs beside me blowing a slightly too chilled draft across my face. Toes separated from one another resting on a metal pipe. Coffee in a sweating glass, caramel colored, not quite as milky as I’d like. The cat wanders around the house and around me, circling her prey. Clouds gather outside, the sky is a thick hazy gray which looks pregnant with rain water. I can feel the ache in my body pre-emptively as if preparing me for the long day ahead.
Wednesday, August 16th
I sit in a tiny room high above a completely empty Broadway stage. The fast hum of a fan above me and an otherwise silent mass of space. The air feels empty, lonely even, having just experienced an exodus of the masses. I try to fold myself comfortably onto the rug, I am not as nimble as I once was.
Thursday, August 17th
A small shallow hallway which I’ve spent months loitering in. The dull hum of an air conditioner and an icy draft which only hits the right side of my body. The walls talk a bit, a bump here and a groan there. A vague sound of the city street. The carpet I sit on does not provide any cushioning but yet some sense of comfort. Soon these walls will be filled with bodies. Happy, hopeful, disappointed, bored, anticipatory bodies. Moving knowingly through the space. Every step calculated and every direction pre-determined.