Tuesday, September 16, 2008

stretch of day

September 16th, 2008

7:25 AM

Will get at short stories later. For now, it's moving fingers enough to keep the noggin' awake. Was a rough night. Even a rougher morning. But everyone's got it rough and lots have it worse so there's no use bellyaching when there's a whole stretch of day waiting to be discovered.

Temperature dropping. Leaves shaking. Squirrels bulking up. All of it feeding the creativity so that desire will not rest. And we fight for balance. Enough good to outweigh the bad. Keep the teeter-totter level. Ducks in a row. Gut full and satisfied so that it will not eat itself.

Hunger is a very dangerous thing if taken in high doses.

But most people don't hunger much at all, so I am thankful.

Served up breakfast for Little Man and S.B.. Little Man at about 5:45 because he couldn't sleep. S.B. a little before 7:00 after she was done washing up and dressing for work. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Can set the tone for each moment thereafter. For Little Man it was cereal. Four bowls with milk. For S.B. it was sliced hardboiled egg with cheese and turkey ham on a toasted and buttered English muffin.

A pretty good start, I hope.

Cool air, dew, and leftover puddles for S.B. as she walks to school. Warm pajamas, a blanket, and Baby Mozart for Little Man.

And I wonder what she thinks. Step after step. Across the busy street. Into a quieter place. Through a sleeping neighborhood. Mourning doves. Black squirrels. Dogs barking from behind big picture windows and backyards. Tom cats rushing home.

Lesson plans. Unruly children. Art. Discipline. Cranky kid. Cranky husband. Old cat. Parents up north. Friends south. Dreams. Reality. Bills. Paycheck.

And I wonder what he thinks.

Music. Bear. Yawn. Shadows on the wall. Stuffed puppy. Apple juice. Trucks and cars. Bubbas and books.

And I don't know what to think. Some mornings. Sticking it out, pushing through, even though I never feel fully refreshed. Awake. Satisfied with what it is I'm doing.

"I have to think about what it is I'm doing instead of thinking about what I want to do."

I said that last night. Staring through the darkness. At the ceiling.

"That's right," said S.B.. "Think about what you do."

And it wasn't long before she was breathing slowly and deeply. Her right hand under my leg. Twitching. Fighting until sleep won her over. Tugged her away. Into dreams.

I wish I could have gone. That her hand would have clamped down tight. Dug fingernails into my thigh. And taken me. But I stayed there. In bed. Like I always do. Wrestling with things unseen. Listening to words that only I can hear.

Tick, tick, tick, Stevens. Time is running out.

All these pages. These words. Characters pushed into the sheets. But all of it slipping away. Wasted—never knowing the comfort of covers—and into the hollow space.

Cold here in this chair. Doves calling. White light pushing through the blinds. Dew dropping. And time not waiting one second more for any of us. To rise. Shake off the tireds. Because everyone's got it rough. Once in a while. And lots have it worse. So there's no use bellyaching when there's a whole stretch of day waiting to be discovered.

~ K.J.

(copyright © 2008 by K.J. Stevens)

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