Bookmark #339

I wish I could stop someone on the street and ask them, “Hello, can you help me out? I seem to have lost my way. You see, I was happier a while ago, but I found myself at this spot again, and I don’t know how to get back. Can you tell me how to trace my steps to the point where the leaves filter the sunlight into soft, little patches? Could you point me in the direction of a warm cup of coffee? Can you help me up? I seem to have stumbled again, and I can’t find the strength to get back up. It is not the first time this has happened, but we can’t always do it ourselves, so could you, perhaps, help me?”⁣

There is no one on the street. There is no street in the first place. I am sitting by myself in a crowded café. I look up to see the server waiting on me. Maybe, to ask if I needed anything else lest they fetch me my check, then ask me to leave. Others are waiting outside, and they may want more than a couple of cups of coffee. I manage to smile out of courtesy, to tell them to get the bill for me, but I realise how my face has betrayed me. I find comfort in how people don’t see us as we look at ourselves. I tell myself he has not yet noticed. This memory makes a home in my head.⁣

As I come home, I stand by myself in my apartment—my little palace of one as I often dub it. I begin unbuttoning my shirt. I remember what I always tell myself after the day ends. I recall the very words I have told myself for years now: just one day, that’s how far I have to go for it to get better. Even after years of saying them, I couldn’t know for sure if it had, in fact, gotten better. I was only irrevocably certain that I had replayed the exact moment almost every day since I first began my little habit. Perhaps, at some point, I only got used to the waiting—waiting for things to change, for a win, for love, for the following day. It was the only thing I had mastered. I had mastered waiting patiently.⁣

Just one day, I told myself, that’s how far I have to go for it to get better. I couldn’t bet on it still, so I slipped into something comfortable, cracked a can open, and began writing.⁣

We all needed something to do while we waited; some read, I wrote.

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