I dashed into the apartment, trying to stay out of the way, and b-lined it straight for the kitchen. I’m standing there with my purse over my arm, keys protruding from one pocket and an mp3 player from the other with headphones attached, large houndstooth skull candy speakers around my neck, still playing, opening the refrigerator and grabbing the jelly. Unwrapping the twist-tie on the bread while twisting towards the door of the cupboard for the peanut butter, not wanting to bother with anything more complicated for myself, and I’m grabbing a knife and spreading the peanut butter with the bread on my palm – too busy for a plate – and I slap the pieces together and head to my room. I set the sandwich down next to the computer which I have just turned on and I turn to the dresser, grabbing the contact case and reaching for the solution which is across the room (because why would it be where I needed it?) and the cord of my headphones is catching on the dresser. One contact comes out easy, the other sticks, and I am unzipping my pants to change into boxers because the heat is melting mascara into the both my eyes, one with a contact and without. I’m tugging on the cord to pull the fan down from my loft and reaching to plug it in near the floor, and to plug in my phone which is across the room, and I catch the cord on a corner – of the desk this time – as I’m entering in my password, and I finally squeeze the other contact out and am holding in and wriggling out of my pants and stepping on fabric at the ankles, alternating, to pull them down and I’m famished so I grab for the sandwich and keep tugging on the fan but it’s stuck and there’s no way I can reach both the fan and the power-strip at the same time and suddenly I notice there are clothes (blurry because I’m not wearing my contacts but haven’t yet reached for my glasses) and they are all over the floor and the fan just isn’t coming down and I think it’s such a mess in here and I can’t see a thing and I’m hot and starving and tired but can’t sleep and I’m never going to get this fan down!
Earlier we were sitting on his porch – his new one in a house that looks like it’s from Detroit – and the air is heavy with summer and I’m asking for his advice. It’s not advice I want to need, but it’s advice I need to want, and the it’s the kind of advice he knows too well. [Ironically, experiencing everything hard and fast and all at once is the thing we’ve come out of all of this having in common. Not what you’d have predicted when I was pinning a corsage to the lapel of his prom tuxedo] He tells me to relax. He suggests tea, rituals, habits. I cringe, I hate habits. He tells me to take my time. He tells me to do one thing at a time.
Not to stand starving, blind and half-naked in my bedroom and decide it’s unbearably messy all while trying to pull the fan down from the loft above.
In my room I stop, let go of the chord, put down the sandwich and slide the final contact off my knuckle. I laugh at how ridiculous this all is. I put on my glasses. I take a bite of the sandwich. I grab a pair of boxers and slide into them, noticing the clothes on the floor (which with my glasses I can see is just a couple things) but deciding not to bother with them just yet. Really, I remind myself, you can manage to move a 6 inch fan from one place to another. Just not when you’re doing it all at once. One thing at a time.
Take your time. It’s only been a month, remember?