Cold Coffee and Flannel

May 2, 2016

From Pinterest - Cozy - Board by Bethany Rogers

Allow for a few moments, a bit of a story about an unusual day. It was also a rather unremarkable day, to begin with, not unlike today, if the sun is shining where you are and the temperature is fairly tolerable. It wasn’t particularly eventful at first, but not entirely boring. The routine was being followed, the usual inconveniences and good deals were encountered as events progressed.

Around the time to get started on dinner, with little desire to contemplate the particulars of dinner, much less the actual labor involved in preparation, she was curled up by the window. She was looking out on the unremarkableness of the leaves idly wobbling on their knuckled sticks and the deck, freshly washed and glistening. There were motes of dust hovering everywhere the afternoon sun flickered through the blinds. She followed the fuzzy little points of light from beam to beam, trying to keep track of individual bits as they migrated. Some came to linger on the haloed hairs of her arm and some meandered off to wherever dust-bunnies commune to enlarge their influence among the dark corners of the earth.

Stayed up too late last night. Couldn’t seem to move until lunch. Still in flannels at four. It just didn’t take much to not have enough life to begin breathing until the kids had been showered and stuffed in bed. She couldn’t even keep up with the little congregation of dust-things with their freestyle ups and downs and impeccable acrobatic loops and whirls through endless spotlights. In comparison, her greatest moment of vitality in recent months was no better than a clunky Taiwanese robot from the Sixties, tinny, garish and flaking paint, with clinking and too-often jammed joints. No amount of sunlight on her skin would generate lift enough for even one little hop among the hypnotizing array of dancers.

All this seemed like a slow, slow fall, slower than the sun’s descent to the horizon, each day just a hair less of a jump from the height of the last. Though some of the moments in the past months had reached a zenith that seemed nearly in the stars, successful and a fruit of intense, satisfying labor, nothing truly persisted beyond the hours of its advent. All breathing quickly devolved to normal, pupils fixed, nape calmed low like a cat’s forgetting of his last bird on the sill. Everything returned, fast as it had taken flight, to the couch, the window, the cold beams and their dust companions. Only each time was just that mite slower, ice melting, moss creeping up the stone as if eternity was the terminus of completion and there was no point in acceleration.

She’d raged at this line of thinking, often enough now that she rarely managed to lift her focus. Countless times, enough to have memorized every crevasse of the stuccoed surface, she had tilted back her head, glaring in futile fury at the ceiling, daring it to come crashing down upon her, the dust, the sunshine and the couch as if that sort of cataclysm might sublimely liberate her from this mottled, cold coffee and flannel plane of existence. It had been months since the last stare-down with her insolent watcher of a ceiling, she hadn’t even found it worthwhile to inspect for new additions to the cobweb retirement homes between the shelves and corners.

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