Rubbing my face and opening my eyes. The sunlight was pouring in my window. I reach for my phone, charging on the night stand next to me. Blinking for a moment. I look at the phone, the time is 7:34am. Fuck. I am running late.
Grabbing my phone and jumping out of bed. Sheets and duvet flying. I land on my bedroom floor, almost tripping on my shoes.
How on earth did I oversleep, I think to myself as I head towards the kitchen.
My cat, Mr. Tibbles, is running after me meowing. I know what this means. I stop in the kitchen, open the cupboard and grab the container of dried cat food. It fumbles in my fingers and lands on the floor, pieces of cat food scatters, like an avalanche in slow motion, tumbling and sliding across the white tiled surface. Fuck.
With one hand still holding my phone. I bend down and scoop up the food. Using the phone to help force the pieces back into where it came. It scatters further and small pieces slip through my fingers. Collecting as much as I can I then pour some of the remaining food into Mr. Tibbles food bowl, before replacing the container back in the cupboard, with a bang.
The kitchen is a mess. Dishes in the sink, a used water glass sitting to one side and now pieces of cat food randomly placed over the floor. It really needs a good clean. But right now I don’t have time as I am running late for work.
Reaching the bathroom. I put the phone on the side of the bathroom sink. 7:37am. Fuck.
I look into the mirror. A sleepy, disheveled face stares back at me. The last 42 years are really starting to show. My normal black stubble is starting to get grey flecks. the frown creases in my forehead are becoming more permanent. The tell tale signs of a bad night sleep are easily detectable in the dark rings under my eyes. But this is what I have to work with as I think about shaving. I haven’t shaved for work in months.
Standing there, looking at my face, the electric razor buzzing in my hand and slowly trimming the hair from my face. How quickly my routine had changed and how hard it is today to slowly return to it. Little pieces of hair fall into the sink.
As I finish shaving, I brush clean the razor before returning it to it’s cradle. I push away the piles of hair that have collected around the sink with my hand and try to let it fall into the bin on the floor. I am doing a terrible job, but I will have to sweep it up later. I wash away the rest, turning on the tap briefly and splashing the water around with my fingers.
Showering quickly. The bathroom quickly fills with steam and the scent of body wash, that I swear doesn’t smell like “ocean breeze”. I hurriedly dry myself. Returning to the bathroom sink to quickly brush my teeth.
7:46am. I am making good time. I quickly brush my teeth. Deciding not to floss as I simply don’t have time. I try to use mouthwash, but half of it spurts from my month, landing on the sink. The bright blue color mixing with some of the remaining debris from shaving.
Running out of the bathroom, phone in hand. Leaving wet footprints behind. I reach my bedroom.
Throwing the phone on the bed. I frantically start getting dressed. Undies, pants, shirt and socks. It has been such a long time since I have had to dress for work, that putting on these pants has a strange surprise. The weight I had convinced myself I hadn’t gained was definitely showing. I look like I was over poured into these pants, with this slight excess bugle oozing over the top. Never mind, as I button my shirt and leave it untucked to cover my slight weight gain.
Sitting on the end of the bed. Looking at my phone. 7:52am. I bend down putting on my socks and slide on my work shoes. My feet are suddenly reminded of my years of office work and uncomfortable shoes. The hard soles, stiff leather and rubbing pain on my heels I had forgotten as I stand up and look at myself in the bedroom mirror. I run my hands through my hair, trying to make it look not so obvious I had rushed this morning.
Grabbing a bottle of aftershave. I spray it liberally around my neck and face. Before I adjust myself one more time in the mirror. This is the best I can do. I think to myself. Before grabbing my office bag and phone and making my way to the front door. I run my fingers through my hair and rub my face. My feet are screaming at me after each step. They are not handling their return to formal footwear.
Reaching the door, I grab my wallet and keys. Look at the phone one more time. 7:56am. Before I shove it into my pocket. I open the door to leave.
Shit. Mask. Where did I leave it?
Turning around. I grab it from the stand next to the door and close the door behind me as I leave.
Putting the mask on my face. I walk down the hallway and make my way to the elevators. It is weird seeing my reflection in the hallway mirror dressed in work attire.
Life is returning to normal. I think to myself.
Exiting the building. It is already a warm morning. I can feel the heat on my skin. My stomach is rumbling. I need some coffee and a bagel before I get the subway to work. Looking up. I catch a glimpse of the time blinking on the billboard above. 8:02am.
Perfect I can grab a coffee and bagel from the bodega on the corner.
Walking into the bodega the smells hit me in the face. Coffee, bacon and frying eggs fill my nose. Ordering a coffee and bagel with cream cheese to go, I wait to one side. Oh, the number of times I have stood here waiting for my food. It feels good to be here doing the same again after such a long time. My morning routine is returning.
Paying for my food. I leave as the door bangs behind me. Stopping for a moment I place my coffee on the head of the Raging Bull statue that is just on Wall St, near the subway entrance.
I remove my mask and take a sip of my coffee. The coffee is hot. Burning my mouth slightly. My tongue now has that furry sensation, which is going to make eating my bagel an experience.
Ripping the paper from my bagel I take a huge bite. The texture of the chewy bagel mixed with the soft creamy cheese is truly satisfying. But all of this is broken when I remember the time.
Covering the remaining parts of the bagel and shoving it in my bag. I return my mask to cover my nose. Grab my coffee from the bull’s head and make my way to the subway entrance.
The distinctive subway smell engulfs me as I descend the stairs. Urine, vomit, body odor and burning rubber are how I would describe it. Pulling my phone from my pocket. I tap it on the turnstile, I do enjoy the convenience of paying with my phone as I walk towards my platform.
There are a large number of people waiting on the platform. Some looking at their phones. Other talking animated to each other with over the top hand gestures.
I decide to stand back for a moment and scroll through my unread emails. As I wait anxiously for the train.
There is a crackle overhead. As I lean against the tiled wall.
“The 2 express to Wakefield is delayed. We apologize for any inconvenience”
There is a collective sigh from everyone around me.
I can blame the subway for being late to work today. At least somethings never change. As I lean against the wall and flick through my emails, content my life is returning to normal.