Peering into the woman who stood before me, I got lost in the uncertainty of her glare. Unemotive eyes hiding the tension held between her shoulders, pulling her posture inward. The routine sigh wasn’t deep enough to release the tightness that wrapped around her chest. Quiet judgments filled the air, even in silence they were all I could hear, I guess I never quite learned how to love the reflection I saw in the mirror. Clumsily, I collect my things. Frightened by the echo of my mascara hitting the bathroom sink, still not a cacophony bold enough to bring me back to the moment. I had drifted down the deserted path of my anxieties, absent of the wisdom I held my standards to, and there was no end in sight. Alerted by the reverberating call coming from my torn coat pocket, it was time to force myself out the door.
Keys, phone, purse, coffee. Keys, phone, purse, coffee. I’d make a song out of my necessities and somehow got distracted by its tune. Rushing to my car, I slammed the door behind me, unintentional aggression seemed to be a familiar outlet. Five minutes behind schedule, yet I still take the extra moment to find a favorite song. Getting lost in the freedom of the base as it blasts through my speakers, engulfed by the vibrations of beautiful music, it was the closest thing to pleasure I would experience. Cruising through the continuous line of green lights should be seen as a blessing, but even while running late, I was in no rush to reach my destination. I would’ve driven under the speed limit if I wasn’t overly concerned about the driver in my rearview mirror. Maybe they had important plans, or maybe they would flip me off and I'd be left with lingering disapproval to carry with me through the coming weeks. Either way, it was only fuel to the flame that was already burning through the back of my stomach. The fiery recognition of fear that was lit the moment I awoke into reality that morning, the blaze that torched my veins every morning. Unsettled in the decision to turn into the parking lot, regretfully I had arrived.
I sat there in my undesignated spot, motionlessly staring at the entrance. I wasn’t ready for the mundane interactions involved with small talk. I closed my eyes as if it would change the predetermined routine of my day, dreaming I wasn’t there. I had mastered the ability of ignoring my internal yearning to not be anywhere. The heavy pit in my stomach tugged at the ropes that were bound to my shoulders, cinching my chest, waiting for the moment I would fold into myself completely. I never did. Always finding a way to loosen myself back into a presentable stance, even if it meant falling apart at the seams. I wondered if anyone watched as I failed to muster up the courage to exit my car. Pretending to take my time gathering my things, while I was really trying to convince myself this was the place for me, that it’s normal to hate your job. The dread that drags you out of bed each morning is simply the beginning stages of adulthood. Praying for the day those feelings would fade, waiting to lose clarity of the world as I got better at blurring the image of my true identity. I turned the keys in the ignitions and shut off the engine. As I began picking up belongings, along with myself, I clenched my jaw with all the pressure that was already bubbling at the surface. I fucking forgot my coffee. Finally I stepped out, taking one last breath of fresh air, I forcefully shut the door behind. It was a great day to have a great day, right?