Monday, February 14, 2011

catching my breath

Finally a moment to sit down at my keyboard, and I am without my manuscript and cannot think of a darn thing to write about. Panera is hoppin’ and my meal is finished and my lunchtime-rush limited 30 minutes of free wifi are quickly ticking away, but nothing comes to mind as my body slowly digests the renegade carbohydrates I just scarfed down in order to have time to write. All that blood in my stomach, I suppose. Isn’t that what they say?

A timer goes ignored in the kitchen and a baby screams somewhere across the way and the 20-somethings at the table next to me complain about their boss in hushed but animated tones. Patrons around me come and go, and I put my feet up and settle down into my seat and plan to be here for a while. A chill from the door begins to settle in, and I wish I were closer to the fire. Of course, were I closer to the fire, I would be wishing I were elsewhere. That seems to be the way it goes.

Perhaps it is not so much that I cannot think of anything to write about as it is that I cannot narrow it down. My plate, as usual, is full here as of late. We are back in the physical therapy routine—figuring out school schedules and transportation and what to do for an hour 2-3 times/week while they work at healing the newest debilitating injury. Doctors visits and x-rays and MRIs and massage therapy—there is no shortage of things to write about. Then there was the throwing up second-grader the night before the Valentine party, the weekend spent snorting Lysol and praying none of the rest of us would fall victim to the same vile plague, the upper respiratory crud that has grabbed several of us by the chest and won’t let us breathe. But it’s winter. Everyone is sick. And we, in particular, are always sick. What on earth is interesting about that?

Then again, perhaps it is not so much that I cannot think of anything to write about as it is that there are things on my mind I cannot write about, things I can’t put into words, things that aren’t fit for public consumption. I consider what I could possibly consider as I sit here nursing my luke-warm tea, and I come up with nothing I would possibly feel comfortable exploring in the comfort of my cozy but very public mini-booth at Panera. The tables around the fire are all open now, and I consider moving. An attempt to distract myself, I suppose, from thinking about that which I don’t want to think about, much less write about. I stay put, pulling my sweater around my legs and shrinking and inch or two further away from the radius of the door. Wrapped up and secluded, both inside and out.

The 20-somethings have gone back to work and the baby has fallen asleep and the timer has long since been silenced. But my thoughts are still just as scattered as they were when I first put my fingers to the keys. I consider reaching in my bag for a book, but feel compelled to write since it is the first chance I’ve had in over a week to do so. The urge won’t leave me alone—not now, not ever. It is always there, nagging at me, trying to pull me from whatever it is I am doing at the time. I need to listen to it. I need to give in to it. I need to shut it up, even if just for a few short minutes here at Panera.

My tea is almost drained and my eyelids are getting heavy. Another hour until I pick the injured one up early from school and take her to a new doctor, hoping to find out why the back won’t stop hurting, and what to do in order to fix that. I watch people come and go, and I consider getting up and joining them. I am undecided as of yet, but of this I am certain—I’ve written just about all I can write for today.

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