My eyes flutter open before sunrise these days. I stretch and ease myself down to the first floor in the lingering dark. A kind of numbness grips my mind. The grinder whirrs. I lean against the counter til the kettle boils. Then I wrap my hands around the mug and wait for the heat to reach my soul.
At the other end of my nine-hour day, the car rattles over the broken pavement of the levee road. In the field below me, a boy lets the leash out farther and farther, skipping behind his pooch. I pull over to the side and push the lever to park. When the door opens, a thousand bugs frantically assault my face.
Later, when I’ve talked to a friend in Kansas City and eaten a bowl of rich potato soup, I stand in the yard with my face raised to the darkness. The night air fills my lungs and seeps into my weary bones. I wave to a figure strolling past me in the darkness. Whoever it is tells me to have a good night. His unseen smile wraps itself around me like a silk shawl. Three lots down, my neighbor Noah quietly hovers behind of his kids as the boy tries to light a fire. Noah murmurs in a soft, deep encouraging voice. An owl hoots overhead. Out on the river, the egrets settle to sleep.
It’s the twenty-eighth day of the eighty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.