If two good deeds makes a good day, then today counts. But my stomach has been knotted all evening with the vague heavy kind of grief which slugs a body into a chair and pins it down. I tried to slide my mood back onto happy. The lever stuck.
I finished a book that I’d been reading though I had to skip a few chapters. I scrolled through email long enough to see that most of it could just be deleted. Those which sought a response can wait. I’ve run out of words to get around the sticking keys; and the clanging sound which my bracelets make against the table annoys me tonight.
I noticed recently that the internal litany of my failures has finally subsided but in tense moments, I can still render a perfect recitation of the many ways in which I’ve disappointed people. Broken promises, broken dreams, broken glass in shards under feet. I shake off the memories. It’s a good day, I tell myself. I walk around the house muttering this over and over.
Then I remember something:
Once I stepped into a room straightening my dress in front of a man waiting to take me to a party. From his place in my little boudoir chair he asked, Is that what you’re wearing?
I froze. Well, it’s what I thought I would wear, I admitted.
Do you have anything else in your closet, he said. I looked into the depths and replied, yes, but it all pretty much looks like this.
I guess it will be all right, he sighed.
I’m still reeling, years later. But I’ve reached the point at which I’m no longer certain which stunned me more: his callousness or my own willingness to accept it.
When I moved to California, I downsized from twenty feet of hanging clothes to twenty-one inches. Even ten pounds overweight, I feel beautiful in every last article hanging in that tiny space.
It’s the fourth day of the fifty-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.