I can’t reach the volume on my ipod. Actually, I can. But any movement other than directly forward might send me careening directly in front of the noise I am trying to drown out. And I can’t start singing at the top of my lungs to drown it out because I live in a small community where word travels fast. Which explains why I’ve never acted on the tempting-yet-completely-inadvisable mental cleanse that could be achieved by running down the street screaming and naked.
(Note: I know what you are thinking. I’ve mentioned that whole naked and screaming thing before. I admit there might have been several occasions when my stress level reached a point where it seemed like a good idea. But I am doing much better now. Thank you for checking.)
It’s Friday. Friday morning. Friday morning at 8:30-ish. Sirens are racing up behind and in front of me. My lungs are seizing up, my intestines rioting, and I have just chewed a hole in my cheek that promises to fester into the size of a silver dollar by the start of next week.
On a positive note, if I do go down it won’t take paramedics long to arrive.
Friday morning is different from any other morning. It’s not free as Saturday and Sunday, it’s lazily energetic while Monday is focused, and it’s more enthusiastic than Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. It’s the end of the week and the start of the weekend. It’s when sandals replace stilettos and vegetables are pushed aside for pizza.
It’s when sirens in the distance went silent in front of our house.
My subconscious marked that moment in time, measuring the days, the weeks and the months from that point on. In the car I would suddenly glance at the clock. I would find myself standing in front of the microwave’s digital clock, unable to escape the crystal blue eyes that told me everything had changed. Sitting at my computer my eyes would drift to the bottom right, an unexpected acknowledgement of passing time. As the days, weeks and months passed my hatred for Friday morning eased into lingering dread and then quiet ambivalence. At some point that I did not notice the notches in time were no longer counted and the dread and panic faded along with my body’s physical repulsion at the sound of sirens. Friday morning was once again … Friday morning.
Every now and then, Friday feels the way it did that morning, moments that are unsettling as much for the unexpectedness as for the memory. But most of the time it is simply lunches and backpacks, school and summer camp, cereal and unmade beds.
And then there’s today when the sound of sirens isn’t just about riding through memories – it’s about avoiding new ones. Because no matter how appealing a truck full of firemen might be, it’s better when the view isn’t from a stretcher. And with my luck, I’d be looking up at the same set of blue eyes.
Except this time around, they’d be laughing.