Slough; Fridays

I sleep wearing my base layer because I can't quite bear to expose my bare skin to the cold room in the mornings. This way, I don't need to strip down to change from my pajamas to my day clothes. I carry the lingering warmth of sleep to the kitchen and it keeps me company while I make breakfast.

There's a layer of ice that slowly grows on the inside of the kitchen window. Occasionally, it becomes heavy enough that it pulls away and drops in a sheet into the sink. The drain moves sluggishly in the cold, sometimes filling the sink with four inches of old soap and floating coffee grounds before I lose my patience and manually burp it with my fist until the water slides away.

My knuckles are a mess of burst seams and cracked edges, and I rub beeswax and grapeseed oil into the sores so I can bear to tie my bootlaces again. Every minute I am late for work is punished, corrected, by going to bed that many minutes earlier.

The crows are struggling to maintain their order in this weather, though they have been quieter than recent meetings. I see small bands of them, a dozen at a time, pressing through the blowing snow. Little by little, patches of blue spread through the sky, and there is little else I can think of except the screaming pain of my fingertip nerves thawing enough to realize that, yes, it's cold out.

Fridays are quiet, a five hour contiguous block of time for me to clear my palate and my workbench and reconfigure my life so that I can have a new week. Months of catastrophes taper away, allowing room to knock over to-do lists neglected on the back burner. It takes twenty minutes of running a damp sponge over the counters to remove debris built up from a week of photograms.

A girl stands in front of the office door and frowns at the posted schedule, which only contains dates for Sunday through Friday. "Do you know if this room is open on Saturdays?" she asks me, while I have my head cocked to the side and watching her from my desk across the hall.

"It's not. The only weekend hours are Sunday nights on the schedule." I'm the only one running office hours; all the ones posted are mine. She does not pass her inquiry to me, only turns and walks away with disappointment.

I leave my bicycle in the hallway now, letting it slough off the layer of road salt and slush that coats it every time I ride. People observe the puddles with alarm after I move it, wondering if there's a leaking pipe or another flood threatening to wash away our labs again.

I can never get moving on time.

24 January 2014 17:03

  Commons License this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. for more details, please see my license information.