March 28, 2012

Write Now - Live Later


     April woke up and immediately checked the clock on her nightstand. 7 AM. Good. She had gotten the required 7.5 hours of sleep for optimal health. She looked to her left. Her husband's side of the bed was crumpled and empty. No doubt he had been up for hours already, sending out work emails and playing video games. April worried about him. He slept less than six hours each night. "Heart attacks and strokes" she would warn him every night , "unless you try harder to stay in bed." Her husband would smile at her as he flipped off the light, but he never listened. He was the type that was eager to start each new day, even if that meant starting it before the sun came up. April had never seen a sun rise and the thought saddened her. "Tomorrow," she thought, "I will wake up and see the sun rise with my husband." It was a promise she had made many times. But this time she meant it.

     April could still hear her husband in the house. Good. He hadnt left for work yet. She pulled on her slippers, tripping over the pile of laundry by the foot of the bed, and straggled down the staircase to kiss him goodbye. He looked nice as usual, clean and corporate. But she would be glad when he was home for the day, dressed in a tshirt and shorts and hanging out with her in front of the Xbox. Those were their best hours. When they each had a controller in one hand, a handful of chips in the other, slaughtering zombies until the screen turns red.

     When he was gone, she plopped down on the sofa and picked up the list of To Do items she had created the night before. Meet a new person. Visit a museum. Go to a coffee shop. Work with seniors. Enrich life. All things that could improve her as a person and a writer. "Live with Zest" a writing book had urged her. "You can't write unless you live first." She glanced at the list and turned on the TV. Hallmark was airing a new original movie. A tear jerker about an ill fated romance between a stay at home mom and a GI stationed overseas. "I could write those," she thought as she took a bite of her ice cream sandwich and chased it with a diet coke. "Maybe that's my destiny." She tossed the ice cream wrapper onto the coffee table next to her To Do list and closed her eyes, dreaming of all the ways two people could wind up on the Hallmark Channel. Damn. Hallmark and Titanic had already taken the good ones.

     It was 8 now and the day was moving on without her. Grabbing her To Do list she plodded upstairs to the bathroom and slathered on a vat of under eye syrum. The bottle promised radiant, youthful results in just four weeks. It had been at least five weeks and there was no difference. She still looked like a puffer fish. "Fucking advertisements," she thought, cursing the 22 year old Beyonce look alike who had been promoting the syrum. She looked at the dozens of other bottles on her counter, all promising beautiful teeth, shiny hair, smoother skin. Funny. No matter how many products she bought she always ended up looking like herself. She ran a comb through her hair and glanced one more time at her list. The day was still young. She could accomplish one, maybe two of these things. People were out in the world doing things, and she should be too. You can't be a writer without being a doer. Carpe Diem!

     She glanced out the window. It was rainy and probably cold. Why did she live in Oregon again? She grabbed a sweater from a closet and a fresh pair of socks from her dresser, and headed into the living room.

     "This day is mine to seize," she said to the empty house. Then she sat down at her computer and began to type up the story of her morning as if she were a character in a book. And she wondered, as she typed, if any of the details of her morning said anything about her life? And as she finished her story she promised herself that tomorrow she would see the world...or at least the sun rise.

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