Sometimes, usually when I’m biking, I catch glimpses of things that I keep with me in my mind. A certain kind of cloud. A flower bed that looks particularly well-tended. One of those orange and white striped construction tubes that let out steam from the ground, into the sky, just so.
In these moments, seconds, really, I remember the bare facts of my life: I live in New York City. I live in Manhattan proper. I ride my bike around. My world in this huge city feels small, like I understand it. I think, with secret pride, that my future children might be impressed by these things.
I smile within these seconds, promising myself that one day, when all of the work subsides, I’ll write these things down. They’ll be a part of a great anthology of my thought, and they’ll join the likes of Sylvia Plath and Joan Didion. My description of the trials and joys of this city will be different and beautiful, dammit. People will be moved, and I’ll be happy in my creation.
Like a stock pile of Easter jelly beans, I hoard these moments to save for later. For less tedious days. Someday soon, I’ll figure out how to crawl into a pocket of sunshine, and then I’ll draw them out like the prized pieces that they are. My fingers will color, I’ll touch them so much, passing them between my fingers, knowing their feel. Their flavor, an instant return.
But this is a rotten lie these days, when I just work and work and work. These seconds pass, and I forget each one until the next one happens. How do I save them? Where is the jar I might hide them in? Away from the emails and the schoolwork and the dirty dishes I only, always, must, absolutely wash myself?
I covet writing routines more than bags and shoes. Marquez wrote everyday until three, after an hour of emails over coffee. Angelou, I can’t remember what she did, but I wish I did whatever it was, too. I wake working these days, wondering why and what for, but not having the time to wander far enough to reach the actual question mark.
My daydreams, which poke through late at night, in the seconds between my eyes closing and my mind sleeping, are of weeds. Native flowers, to be exact. And a tall, white room full of sun, where I write with other nurses. Somehow, these things blend together seamlessly, just like the orange stripes, and the odd, beautiful smoke they always seem to be giving to the deep blue sky.