It is prohibited to cry without learning, To get up without knowing what to do, to be afraid of your memories.

-Pablo Neruda, “Queda Prohibido”

Today

was my day off.

Summer semester began Monday, and today was my glorious day to do whatever made my heart sing.

The birds woke me up singing in their jubilant way. We have a nest of sparrows in our front porch that like to convene on the gutter in the back corner of our laundry room. They were having a rowdy meeting on this particular morning. I should have joined them.

But – and – instead of rising to greet a fresh new morning and welcome this joyous day of unscheduled bliss, I stayed in bed. For an hour. And then another hour. I just laid their like a lump, feeling guilty. And sorry for myself. And overwhelmed. And headachy. And. Like a lump.

Once I had peeled myself out, I stomped around. And glared at my husband, already drinking coffee and working. I harrumphed my way through a half-assed run around the park. I grumbled my way through an omelette. I biked to a massage (I know, my life is hard).

Then somewhere in the midst of lactic acid release, deep pressure, and the lovely Ashley Bennett’s healing fingers, something shifted. Perhaps I had had enough of myself.

After I was sufficiently kneaded and peppermint oiled, I leapt off the table. Rode my bike home. Sprung into action. The list was fire beneath my fingertips. I was setting up tarps to protect the concrete. I was climbing around on the ladder and stepstool to reach the nooks and crannies of our new cedar pergola. I was sweaty, covered in Preservawood stain, baking in the sun, fretting about the stain on the flagstone edging. I was watching the sky and thinking about rain.

And then I was scraping the exposed interior bricks of my little bodega with a re-purposed grill brush. I was nearly suffocating in a respirator I had promised my husband I’d wear. I was sweeping the walls. I was loosening old plaster into my hair, my bra, my eyes. I was marveling at the rich red of the century-old brick garage that was once a stable. I was dreaming of my vintage business. I was imagining racks of carefully tended clothing. I was fantasizing about photo shoots, launch parties, late nights burning the midnight oil in this little brick structure I had somehow convinced everyone to let me have (and have since guarded the space like junkyard dog).

I was pausing for a cashew apple almond milk raspberry blueberry kale spinach cocoa smoothie with chia seeds, flax, vanilla and maple syrup.

And before I knew it. The day was done. The sun was setting. I was rinsing off a body well-used, vibrating with the sunshine, the excitement, the anticipation of the day. I cannot wait for school to be over tomorrow so I can keep on going.

So today, I can say, I have had enough of me. And, in the end, I did Neruda justice.

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