For long moments after the bell had rung, I sat behind my desk with the door locked and pulled tight. I sat behind the door, behind my desk, behind my barrier of half-full cups. (I buy myself drinks as a coping mechanism. I get this from my mother.) I sat and I closed my eyes and I let one expectant minute slip past, and then another. But then, as I was bound to do, I got up, walked to the door, and allowed the waiting herd in. And then the bell rang, pulsating and loud, and class started. Wednesday went back to normal.
Some days, it’s like that.
I recall exactly what as a child I thought adulthood had in store for me. The dream resurfaces easily. In it, I live in a smallish house, a house with a finished attic, and have three children, two boys and a girl. I cook simple things for breakfast: oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, wheat toast with cream cheese and jam. I comb the boys’ hair to the side and cuff their pant legs. I french braid the girl’s and tuck the wispies back behind her ears. I have a bin under the bathroom sink designated for skinned knees. In my stolen time, at night before bed, I read books. I write.
At some point, time began to move faster. Life became a to-do list. Check. Check. Check.
Is this what my mid-twenties is about? Caring too much about things that don’t matter?
I spent tonight in glorious fashion. I curled up with The Smiths and a cherry limeade and alternated between surfing the internet and reading Julia Alvarez. I felt snug in my worn college sweats and cozy by the single bulb of a lamp.
I guess what I’m trying to scratch at is the knowledge (not the realization, because, let’s face it, this is the story of my life) that I need to do more of the things I enjoy and can feel stretching and warming my soul, and less worrying and hustling and bustling.
I wish I were an old woman. I wish I had more answers.