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Sunday Before

Cold sunset

Cold sunset

Not as bright and cold as Saturday, Sunday is bright and cold enough. The sun slides up out of the south, peeking, fooling nobody. Come on out. We see you. The sky is the buffed blue of robin’s eggs and ocean glass, cold beautiful like a light that glows through windows.

Those brilliant bell-clear days that come for a few weeks each winter have come right as I’ve gone back to work. Years past I spent them inside looking out, writing or doing taxes or some important thing, telling myself to go outside before it went away. I did, but not enough. Now I’m working for the man again. I’ve got windows to look out of, but without the freedom it’s not the same.

Someone else on Facebook has a hard time with Sundays. Does everyone? Those caught up with church and social obligations seem happy, though overtaxed, and mention how worn out they are. Football fills the day for others. This does not seem introspective. It must be freeing. The Facebook person talks of a low-hanging feeling strongest this dark time of year. She’s back teaching and has a lot to get ready for Monday.

I won’t bore you with repeating my old dreads, all school- or work-inspired. Long stretches had light, happy Sundays, with Monday free time or to a job or school I was brave enough to like. It’s strange to think of such a time now. The depressive in me clutches for the hollow inside everything but can’t grab it. Something has changed but not all the way.

Here is now: Friday a spectacular release, deserved or not, floating through a brilliant and cold evening. I went to sleep an innocent child, snuggling in early, breathing out the ocean. Saturday bright and free, though not efficient, and, somehow, clutching and sad. And then Sunday: up early, finishing off my list, each hour a full hour spacing out to the night I wanted to stay in the future.

I have a long talk with a friend, just moved back from six months of travel and upscale homelessness. Everybody has challenges, things daunting only to them. Just because yours are imaginary doesn’t make them less real. Cut yourself some slack and breathe. Her house is full of boxes and hopefulness for a job, and it feels like friend’s houses on high school Sunday afternoons: a sense of waiting, reality outside getting its notes together. Leaving, the street is empty, construction signs out for work starting tomorrow–on Monday, when reality is.

Sunday has an ineffable quality, the pause that slides down to tomorrow. Do you feel it? Walks pass through neighborhoods emptied of people running errands before their time runs out. I have new blinds I should put up, but feel too tired to measure. I have no homework to do but my own.

It’s a funny time. Four months since stepping off an airplane from New York City and the bottom dropping out of things. September and early October a bright six weeks of late sun and catastrophe. When I tired of NPR, AM radio kept me company as I wrote mornings. I did not want to but fell into unemployment fretting–the fretting over The System being displeased, all the recruiters silent. A two-beer election messed me up the next day. Thanksgiving in Texas with parents and friends, a separate surreality. A solo show class that I considered insurmountable but which presented a natural and achievable difficulty. December a bright grey month of lights, interviews, writing, work and people. A new year of funny digits. The whole long trajectory leading to this immutable point, where everything is and always has been about freaking out with a new job and wondering what has happened.

That four months casts a long shadow. What’s new is it’s only that shadow, not all the previous shadows from back and back to third grade. All that was too heavy to lift. This is bewildering, but easier.

So Sunday is a pause. Tomorrow is out there but doesn’t loom as it has in so many pasts. I would rather the job just hand me the money and leave me the time, and I realize this is because I’ve wasted so little. The past four months I would have done a lot even if I’d done nothing. I’ve realized something: feeling bewildered has nothing to do with failure.

Sun sign

Sun sign

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