I woke up at an hour I dare not say. I had been tired to the last cell in my body, and I did open my eyes now and then all morning. Then, I pulled the blanket over myself and slept again. To be out in the world meant that you had to be ready for it, and to be ready for the world was not something you could take lightly. I was not ready the first, second or third time I woke up, but I was ready when the doorbell rang with a parcel.
It always came in the nick of time. You could spend your whole life preparing for a moment but only feel ready at the precipice of it. You could wait years to confess something and miss every opportunity, but only when your heart was thumping harder than the pistons on the engine of a train and only when your voice shivered as if you were standing knee-deep in snow on new year’s eve, did you find that you were ready. Every moment before the second you would utter the words would convince you there was still time, but only when you finally say what you had to say would you learn how tardy you had been.
This was true for all things. There was a trick to it: you let life decide. You let the moment push you to the edge. There was no such thing as being ready in my experience. I was nineteen years old when the beats of my life changed overnight. When I woke up, I had no choice but to learn to dance.
How it changed is irrelevant. They say details make things intimate and vulnerable; I say they are alienating. If I tell you about a cafe without telling you the street it is on, you will see the cafe you frequent in my words. If I tell you its name, it will go in one of two ways. If you are familiar with it, your concern will turn to the veracity. And if you don’t know it, you will think of it as some mythical place in an itinerary you might never fulfil.
Life thrust me into readiness that morning all those years ago, as I am sure it has pushed all of us at some point. But it was not immediate. Funnily enough, it was precisely like today. My phone chimed, and I somehow knew why and how life would never be the same. So, I did the reasonable thing: I pulled the blanket over myself and slept, but when it chimed again, I was sure I was ready.