Over the last few weeks, I've noticed it takes longer for the sun to rise in the mornings. Pretty soon G will be leaving for work every day before dawn. G and I hate this time of year. We hate Standard Daylight Time. I get Seasonal Affective Disorder, he just gets worn out more easily. Winter is coming.
Sometime last week, when G left for work, it was still dark. I had stayed on the couch the previous evening until 2am, flipping back and forth between Halloween on one channel and Bridezillas on another. I was feeling a bit guilty for having disturbed his slumbers when I crawled into bed just a few hours before. As he planted his traditional see-you-later kiss on my forehead, I reached for a hug. I pulled him into me as if I could somehow absorb some essential part of him into myself.
"Did you get enough sleep?" I asked.
"No," he laughed.
I fell out of our embrace and back into unconsciousness.
Some hours later, my eyelids registered light in the room. "Meow." Marge was trying to wake me up. She leaned into my ear, sniffed, and yowled "MEOW."
Other than a scratch between the ears, I ignored her.
At around 9:45 I floated back onto the couch. Part of me wondered if this was all I had left to my life, outside of school: Couch to bed and back again. Most of me didn't care.
At 10:00, I paused the TiVo and thought to myself, if I don't get off this couch, I'll stay here all day until 4:30, when I have to go to class.
Then I thought to myself, what's wrong with that?
Somewhere around eleven I made coffee and toast. I struggled with this feeling, this notion that sitting on a couch watching TV simply because I can is just inherently wrong. I've done an awful lot of that over the last two weeks, ever since my last temp job ended, and I'm feeling bad about it. I feel some obligation... not sure to what or to whom.
I've done some other things. The housework and grocery shopping have not fallen behind, and I've made trips to the gym and taken a yoga class. Last Friday I had a routine Dr. Appointment in the city, after which I hosted an Octoberfest dinner for G and our upstairs neighbors, just because I felt like it. I cooked for two days preparing for that. So it's not like I've been a complete slug.
I looked at Marge, sitting on the rug, blinking at me, no longer meowing, simply sitting there, as though she were expecting something interesting to happen. After a few minutes, she grew bored and walked away without a word.
I realized that this may be the last time in my life - perhaps the only time - when nobody other than myself really needs anything from me. I don't have work waiting for me in an office somewhere. I don't have massage clients anymore - last Saturday was my last clinic shift. (Still digesting that one.) G is doing his thing, like always. I joked to a friend on the phone yesterday that my parents have forgotten I exist. I'm... free.
What an odd feeling.
I want to DO SOMETHING with this time that is all mine - something dramatic, like travel, but of course, that takes more than time, doesn't it? So... I stood in the middle of my living room for a few seconds, taking it all in, looking at the closed Venetian blinds.
Every day in this apartment, when the day begins, we open and raise the blinds first thing, even before making coffee or turning on the computer. But on that day, 12:00 noon had come and gone, and the blinds were closed. Again, I felt that twinge of responsibility. G had left before sunrise, so it's my job to start the day today. And I hadn't.
I looked at the sunlight glowing behind the blinds, and I suddenly felt that I'm the one who's outdoors, looking at light coming from shuttered windows of someplace that I'm dying to see, that that I'm sure is full of untold mystery and beauty and excitement, but that I can't afford to go, where nobody inside knows me.
I looked down at myself. I was wearing an oversized T-Shirt and flip-flops. Nobody's letting me into any parties dressed like that. Something in me clicked. A half-hour later I was showered and dressed.
I keep coming back to the realization that this is a unique time in my life. I have no job, no income, but I have a roof over my head, and no immediate worries. School is essentially over. I don't have kids. Nobody is relying on me for anything. So where is this sense of obligation coming from, this guilt?
It would be so easy to chalk this up to money - I'm completely living off of G right now, and will for another week or so. Because he's paying for everything, I feel like I should be earning my keep in a more tangible way, such as cleaning the house 'till it shines, making meals, going to the gym more often so I'll be in the best shape possible, all those old-fashioned notions of proper wifery that somehow cling to me, despite all my efforts to shake them off. But I know better than this, in my gut. This is my screen. There's something deeper going on here.
I wrote a song two weeks ago, and practically flew to my accompanist to have him plunk it out for me. It needs a lot of work. It's rather ambitious - very Cole Porter sounding, lots of chatty lyrics. The tune isn't very original, but whose is these days anyway? I love the lyrics and the sheer fun of it. But that was two weeks ago, and I haven't touched it since.
My piano seems to be suffering here in our little apartment. The keys stick, almost all of them. I'm thinking the humidity isn't good in this place. I need to have the thing repaired. That's #2 on my list of things to pay for once I get another job.
I hardly ever think about my wedding anymore.
I am so freakin' tired. I swear, it's all I can do to get out of bed. I seldom get up before 10. I'm at war with myself - I can hear the battle between what I should be doing and what I feel like doing every day, every morning when I get up, and every day when I'm watching American Chopper or selecting a comfy shirt and jeans or whatever I'm doing that seems like nothing. Sloth wins because I don't know what it is I really should be doing. I've met all my outward obligations. So now...
This time may be unique in my life. I get to do things for me now. And what do I always want to do, more than anything?
Excuse me - gotta go. I have to get back to that song.
It's me I owe.