My suitcase from the great California trip sits in the hallway outside the bathroom door. Every surface of the house holds stacks or piles from days on end of rising at five and working until long past sunset. Now the run of busy days shudders silent. I actually bought groceries. I have coffee, eggs, tofu, gluten-free bread, and bananas. I can eat for days without stepping through a restaurant door.
I strain to hear the radio over the whir of the air conditioning that I had to deploy last night to offset a fatigue-engendered asthma attack. The dog barks outside presumably at the sun which has finally risen to join me. After struggling awake at an ungodly hour for the past week, my brain snapped conscious at four a.m. today and refused to be appeased. Now I cannot choose between a fresh pot of coffee and a nap in the rocking chair.
But I’m not complaining. The internet screams with more ugly news of unscrupulous bankers, disenchanted millennials, and murdered citizens. Crude bombs rock our cities again. Politicians argue over the sad difference between bad and worse. My biggest personal struggle right this moment involves choosing between scrambled or fried. Though problems await me on all fronts, my troubles can be conquered with spit, glue, and duct tape. I face no damage beyond repair.
I knocked my glasses on the floor this morning. To retrieve them I had to bear myself on an unsteady mix of my broken artificial knee, that extra five (or eight) pounds, and the rigidity of my spastic legs. I eased my fingers between the bedside table and the futon frame to snag one bent stem of the six-hundred-dollar eyes without which I cannot take a single step except in peril. With them settled on my face, I lurched forward on the bed and dragged myself vertical, straining against every ounce of the extra weight that I refuse to lose. I steadied myself on the built-in, feeling the smoothness of the hundred-year-old pine. Now take a step, I urged myself, and so the morning began.
I sit surrounded by the shambles and clutter of my home but the pale grey light in the window suggests that dawn has come once again.
It’s the twenty-first day of the thirty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.