It always comes to life in mid-sentence supported with the kind of readiness I only wish I could bottle and stall its fleeting visit. Maybe it’s just the right amount of cold air to the face or the feeling after all my energy has been washed away? It’s probably nothing quite as calculated as that or as picture-perfect, but I think looking to my right and seeing how things have changed is likely the real culprit.
The population on the October waters has flown away from the diverse selection that floated on the September ones. I’m about seven tenths of the way home before I notice this, and it’s an odd number but the perfect one to describe where I took everything in. I looked out and saw the water, the new bank along side it like gravel lining a country road, the side of the canal so often submerged, a layer of the street and pedestrians next, a horizon of vehicles behind them with another layer of tree trunks and homes following, and the eye continues up to the fall palette of retiring leaves ready to fully embrace the fall. It’s like cutting the cake of the earth to its core and seeing the layers stacked, however this fully fall day sits on display in proud acceptance of just how different it is from the same scene of just a month ago. The water’s gone so we can glide on it after the chill sinks deep enough, and the tails counter-balancing the diving beaks are the last of the summer denizens skating on the water before we do.
This dusk is different then the others beyond the sad nostalgia and appreciative stares. It’s getting harder to pedal and ride home to an outward-looking perspective on the journey. The energy is missing in the force I need to drive my knees and even my elbows feel weak. I spend time taking in the sights mentioned above, however I swap the reds of the leaves for the reds of my feet and their laces while I’m staring down. The feel of my body pulls up a memory from my archive, more dust to blow off than I could believe, and I see my reflection in the window of the home I got to know as a teen. I’m exhausted, hungry, and for some reason craving meat, and so I go in and eat far more than I would normally. That meal, nothing more than a sandwich, is the apple in my minds eye without half of the nutritional value. It’s all I can think of, and maybe that’s fortunate because the last stretch home only goes uphill.
One more thought is there, not so much a thought but a sight: yellow. Yellow and bright flash my ankles between my shoes and pant. The monkey face and barrels outlined as a black stencil look up at me and I love them, I think, or perhaps gasp with depravity, as much as I could ever love anything. Nothing will ever be more and will only ever aspire to rise up and meet that. The gears, chain, and wheels all grind with age and the sights around are all of endings, but the bright reminder of sunny jungles and music of freedom contrasts brilliantly. It’s a little thing, but the little things never really let you down.
It’s as claimed by rust as it is by nature’s mossy, clutching fingers. With pride we can look and say that’s ours, ours like trees aren’t or like boulders sit dwarfing us.
A path of crunching steps leads a slight figure to the sick, pale yellow of the old body drained of its original luster by the sun’s lust. Hardly matters in the dead of night, but maybe come morning it’ll be something to think on to keep their mind off of the something bold and Vantablack.
Lifting and pulling the handle doesn’t get them inside, and now made to weigh the worth they can see how much of the outside has managed to influence what they thought would be a respite inside. They look around as if there was ever going to be something different to see, and not able to recover enough spirit in the wake of the disappointment they take a seat. It won’t be a shelter as imagined, but one less direction to sweep with an already tired neck and one that’s sure to feel the rough hands of cramping massage it out of shape as the night goes on. It’s protection worth taking.
Their back felt tender after an hour in hope of sleep but it was certainly out now that this was all it was ever going to be. There would be no sleep or rest for their wicked nest of hornets, buzzing and sickening where a lighter soul would find their mind, and as unhappy as unsurprised they rose with cracking feet, stretched their sunken back, and readied to continue on. A moment went by before they bent to reach for their bag, but with a hand around one of the straps they changed their mind in accordance with their second thought. They returned to the spot on the ground and leaned back uncomfortably, just like before.
There was nowhere to really go, they knew, and so sitting here to maybe see how this spot, known by heart after an hour of taking it in, might look with the early beams of sunrise added to the mix.
The sun’s getting so low now, so early. I sound redundant but it blows my mind leaving indoors at the same time I did a month prior to low lighting you can barely read under. The lights that do come in place cut through clearly and definitively like man-made stars, but their just blobs of paint in comparison to their original subjects. No life or magic in their keeping us out of the dark-unseen of the night.
Despite that one alteration of the familiar there’s little change to the wait and arrival that I’m moving towards. Maybe some extra layers reducing the hunch of my shoulders, hunching forward to lean on my knees while I’m leaning through the next ten minutes without anything to sit up and look around at. Sitting in wait so that I can sit in wait on a rumbling bus, but at least the driver is friendly. I’m not listening to him in favor of music of my choosing but he smiles at me and I exchange the kind of smile I’d like if I were him: small and friendly without any obligation of anything more than being polite. It’s all I want from him, and all I want from the bus is to hear its engine moving us and its wheels making the tour of the blocks home. The frame of the bus seems old, but I don’t know if every bus is old and creaking or if that’s their design even when new and clean.
I can count on one hand those of us on the ride and I like it. I like it because I don’t like the music I have pouring in to my ears through my ear-buds, despite it being the best collection of songs I could think of. What’s the problem? It’s all the same few artists, the same few beats, the same few scenes. It’s the kind of package I put together because I know it makes me feel the type of way that’ll get me home strong and stave off the longing of home’s comfort. At the very least, it’ll sub in my desired comfort for the state-of-mind that’s comfortable out in public.
I’m not in to it though, and I can hit pause and turn off the beats that aren’t in rhythm with my circadian. I keep the earbuds in though because they feel in place. The white noise of the bus is the kind of familiar you never yearn for but appreciate having, and nothing feels better than checking in to the soundtrack supplied by the world around me. I don’t need to stamp reminders of myself or pad the walls around me with confidence to enjoy a simple ride home, and the simplicity of it fills me like the steam of boiling tea comfortably fills the nostrils when my knees ache and the chill persistently dances with a fever.
Three quarters of the way home a lurch and bounce bring my elbow down hard on the metal arm-rest. It’s not quite the catalyst for a sour taste spreading or a burst of citronella muscling through a crowd of light and pleasant aromas, but it’s enough to balance out the ride and note it in my mind. It’s like late afternoon rain proceeding sunlight that only takes-leave come nightfall: a negative giving significance to the positive.
When the time comes I signal my exit and wait for the doors to set me free. I don’t push on the handle but I watch for the green light, and when it comes the doors slide apart and I step out in to the dark coolness and walk the last part of the journey home.
11 p.m. comes in just as it’s expected to and I meet it hazy and a little disoriented, ready to let go and grant my subconscious free reign over the next eight hours of canvas. I’m going to listen to a little bit of music and drift off, and when the first couple of songs don’t do it I’ll just skate through a couple more until I’m sliding out for the next morning. Maybe it’s the exhaustion, but something about the way the melodies and lyrical execution are moving feels as satisfying as the way my bed is curving in to my yearning-for-rest body, so maybe I’ll be a little late for my scheduled check-out.
Somewhere along the one song-to-the-next I rediscover some old favourites like an amnesiac finding out they’re older than they thought, and here are the teen years I thought I had mapped and recorded like a cartographer suddenly discovering new land. Not new land though but old land with my boot prints in the mud fossilized and clearly a size or two smaller from their eventual full growth. I’m comfortable though in pants, socks, and a long-sleeve and buzzing just the right amount to slip those old fits on and walk around down the lane to revisit some of those landmarks again.
It’s a little past 11 p.m now, but oh wow it’s really not because despite my eyes being centimetres from a clock it’s really free-fell hours and is sitting at 2 a.m. I should have known from how many times I’ve re-filled my water and emptied my bladder that this little detour has become a full-blown press tour for teenage-me’s autobiography. I don’t want to waste tomorrow though, so I’m going to put the orange-glow of my night-mode phone down and head to sleep now.
The light was pink this evening. Pink in the sky but hitting the water in accordance to the International Law of Colours and Blending to make a body of magenta, with a face blemished by the darted sparkles of the light falling of the flash rain. I thought of it as I hit every dip and bump along my trip peddling my purple mess kit home. It’s always when I’m cycling or walking, but not just traveling because I also free-form my thoughts freely when I’m showering or making it through a day of work, and it’s for those reasons that I choose to step away to try and nourish that perk. I feel like myself trapped inside of somebody else when I’m following and clicking on one thing after another, but the freshest air pushes hardest against my chest. The freedom to turn the world down is the exact amount of rope needed to hang-oneself. That hand on the slider of a screen moving up when it could be turning a dial down shows a contrast in use of muscles: a flick of a finger gives more while the twist of two gets it. Decades of buildings convenience up haven’t earned anything for the hands that built it so much as it has for the ones born now and reaping the benefit, but that’s not where MY inspiration comes from. The freshest air pushes hardest against my chest, and it’s not plaque or tar or layers of fat causing resistance. It’s the kind of love-hate push that rewards a deep satisfaction, like the kind that goes to bed with you at the end of a productive day and doesn’t just tell you but simply shows you that this day was yours. It’s the kind of love-hate that builds a couple of hundred words in to 12 000 and climbing because you take 20 minutes to add 200 words of your 100 percent to this 1 goal. It’s the kind of love-hate that you find sitting at your computer when it’s late and paying attention to what you ate because you care more about what’s coming than the struggles you’ve had as-of late. The love-hate of spending time alone but finding your best parts there.
The light was pink this evening which usually means a tomorrow of clear skies.
They drip like shadows of light, orange and red, a long way down like running spills of oil on the water. After the dark, so early in arrival now that I almost don’t notice the sunset, comes the water-colour rippling in the dark ink of the canal. Not exclusively though. The asphalt, dark and slick yet illuminating the bleeding mascara off its recently washed/not yet dried face, takes the monopoly out of the sky and crashes the board in to an extra dimension: under our feet to join the sides, eye-level, and up high.
I made my bed as soon as I left it in the morning. Remember morning? When you leave the bed in which you slept in? Looking at it as if it’s permanent and there isn’t any other somewhere else that you’ll one day cover, in your fully dressed frame, flopping down hard in a scatter of blankets and pillows. As though the four marks they make in the floor will always cradle the never-aging baby.
I made my bed as the first act of cleaning that would organize my home. I covered the wrinkled sheets and faded outline of myself under the smooth and curt tuck of a black and grey blanket. It’s smooth, presentable, and dropped the stone in the pond causing the rippling wave of washing away. Of tidying and chiseling; of organizing the things gone astray.
I made my bed this morning right before leaving for a bus when my health rejected cycling. I made it because there was time, and because it would be a win to come home to at the end of a day of tiny losses. There were no clothes scattered on the floor to line up with the scattered thoughts, and me from the morning had a defiant something to say while keeping the present me standing while I violently sway.
I’ll make my bed tomorrow morning a little later, at least that’s the plan. It’s soft the sound of a blanket stretching in the air, a fistful for two hands. What’s not soft is glass breaking or the confusion around it, like the pedestrians running from a fire and the crash that caused it. That was Sunday though, maybe even a month ago, and the days and their schedules came normally with little but a tiny mark of confusion as a reminder: a small green car, a sick sort of green, there at a light while you cross-walk. It’s also parked, by your side on the highway, and cruising slow down a one-way.
I made my bed none of those mornings, but I started to recently. I started to when the glass broke, and in the confusion the bullet went through my heart swiftly. It died after bleeding out for weeks. I didn’t know it was happening but it did. It did. For better or worse: it did.
Tonight, I’m going to bed like many of the nights stacked up behind me. I’m not sad, glad, or frustrated. I’m in my bed to sleep, and there I’ll be to reach tomorrow.