If It Doesn’t Come First…, Part I

Things are off.

I’ve gone running only once in the last two weeks. I haven’t been to yoga since early October. I’ve been off of coffee for almost six months, but miss it more now than I did in April when I went cold turkey. (Green tea, even the really good stuff with lots of honey and milk, is not coffee. Only coffee is coffee.)

I woke up at two o’clock on Tuesday morning. After lying in bed for an hour and a half, unsuccessfully imagining a wave of relaxation washing over each part of my body, from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, I grabbed my journal and pen from the night table, slipped out of the room and headed to the couch in the living room.

Though I was tempted to escape back into Natasha Tretheway’s new book, Beyond Katrina, I knew it deserved better than my thought-saturated and sleep-deprived brain at three-thirty in the morning. More importantly, I knew I needed to write.

50 Years, Henry Rael

Henry, the kids and I had just returned from Deming, where we celebrated my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary with a lovely fete my brothers, sisters-in-law, and I started planning in July. We staked a big white tent on the circular drive in front of my parents’ house, softening its beams with white Christmas lights and tulle. We re-imagined the centerpieces saved from my grandparents’ sixtieth wedding anniversary in 2003, trading out spring flowers for gold and burgundy ribbon. We rented a brinca-brinca for the kids, showed off my parents’ brand new porch by positioning the buffet and gift tables under its overhang, and danced to the sounds of Ekiz, featuring my brother Mike on trombone, congas, and background vocals.

"Desnudos" in 'Burque, Henry Rael

The two-week period leading up to the party had been packed: a new homework schedule with the kids, workshops and a big translation project in preparation for El Otro Lado’s November 13 Storytelling Event (blog post coming soon), visits from Erasmo, James, and Jeannette, Balloon Fiesta, last-minute party preparations, and a post-fire mediation with our attorneys, insurance companies, and the building owners.

Amigas y Globos, Henry Rael

Wow. Just listing it here is like sitting with a good friend, a voice of reason to reassure. No wonder you feel a little run down, Michelle, a little crazed.

Bliss, Patricia Dawson

I like sleep. I need sleep. Except for preschool nap time at the Gingerbread House, when my favorite teacher Cindy would gently insist that I put my head down on my mat and close my eyes, I have always been this way. Most friends my age can bow out of a late night by recalling their younger days when they could party until the sun rose. I can’t. New Year’s Eve, 1999/2000, while other partygoers smoked cigars or danced in my friends’ living room, I napped on their couch in my red sequined dress. I made it until midnight. I just couldn’t last much past it.

I like my routine. I like solitude. I haven’t had much of either lately because I also like P. & K. and Henry and my friends and the Balloon Fiesta and my family and El Otro Lado. (I do not, however, like post-fire mediation.)

So on Tuesday morning, hours before the alarm was set to ring, I sat on the couch and wrote.

One hour and four messy, double-sided journal pages later, I was ready to sleep again. Time: Five AM.

To be continued on Tuesday, October 26.

Published in: on October 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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