The tension in my shoulders is a fraying string that holds me together. My ribs are a cage that presses down on my heart to keep it from running away and leaving me behind. My legs tell me they work just fine but I can hear the weariness in their voices that beg me to stay sitting on the floor just a bit longer.
Days like this are hard because they are mundane.
It is warm outside finally. The sky is growing a dark kind of blue that makes the evening look like it’s yawning, the kind of color that belongs in the backdrop of a grainy polaroid photo. The trees and grass are impossibly green with glints of golden light from the low hanging sun. Time feels strangely slow, until I think about tomorrow and the next day and the rest of the week and suddenly my limbs have gone boneless.
Like a child spooling in their kite string because the wind has gotten too difficult for flying, I’m pulling my thoughts back into the present and making them focus on the feeling of carpet under my toes. My gaze turns from out my window to inside my room.
It’s a mess again but at least my bed is made.
A growing collection of mugs sit in clusters on my dresser, my desk, and my floor, holding used tea bags and coffee dregs. There’s a stack of books I want to read on my headboard, three of them have bookmarks stuck inside that haven’t moved in weeks. Blankets form a mound on the floor because even though it’s too warm to need them, I like how soft they feel against my skin.
I don’t let myself linger on any one thing. Not yet. Not today. Today I am drained and fragile, and must store up strength before taking on more difficult things.
I open my window.
It’s a short drop to the ground below. I’m tricking my legs into forgetting their heaviness by telling them that we’re going to do something ridiculous and fun. I take with me a beat-up journal and a container of glue, because really, that’s all I’m going to need.
I wander aimlessly down the sidewalk, humming something tuneless and fleeting. Up ahead, there’s a Bradford pear hanging its branches over my path, white blossoms fading and casting their petals to the ground. Its fragrance hangs in the air like humidity. The smell isn’t good or bad, but simply a scent that frames so many memories, and so it makes me remember being a kid. It makes me remember the fears I got over and the ones that linger. The hopes I forgot and the ones I didn’t. How I didn’t care about the bruises I collected from trying things because I was too busy wanting to try them again.
This is where I stop.
I sit under the tree and open my journal to a blank page. Smooth, sturdy, cream-white paper. I cover it with glue.
I don’t have a brush to spread the glue, so I’m using my fingers, making sure it gets everywhere I want it to be. The grass that edges the sidewalk is vibrant and the sort of height that calls out to lawn mowers. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s mown by tomorrow.
I grab a fistful and tear the grass from its stems. One by one, I pull out my favorite blades and stick them haphazardly to my glue-covered pages. The tips of my fingernails are getting stained because the feeling of tearing up grass is cathartic and I’m trying to fill the pages until they are green overlapping green.
I apply another layer of glue while wondering if I’ll be able to close the book when it has all dried. I suppose I’ll find out tomorrow. The thought makes me smile, mostly because it’s silly and I have no reason not to. It takes me much longer to gather flower petals than grass, but I fill my lap with the fallen white petals and start sticking them to my new layer of glue.
I’m there until twilight, covered in glue, thinking about nothing of consequence and humming without a tune. I don’t need to do any of it right or well. I just need to do it for the sheer joy of it.
Carefully, I climb back into my room and leave the journal open on my desk to dry. Firmly, I shut my window and draw the curtains to the darkening sky. Smiling, I peel dried glue off my fingers, barely realizing that my shoulders are no longer a fraying string desperately holding me together.
Tomorrow will be its own creature. I can face it in the morning. For now, I am growing sleepy, and my bed is looking safe and soft and entreating.
It’s been a day.
And not a bad one at that.