There is light coming through the bedroom windows. Not just any light – a certain type. A level of shine, a tone in the sunlight filtering through the blinds and it points out this section of the wall but not that, a section of the chair but not the floor. The light falls through in specific amounts and with a certain quality that cues her internal alarm. She breaks the surface and frantically sucks in air as the shards of sleep cascade from her head and shoulders, her arms reaching for the cell phone, her eyelids frozen between closed and open. Gasping as she props herself above the cozy pillow of that brief but comforting death, she hits the round indentation in her phone and reads, “0706.”
“Dammit!” She had set her alarm for six – one hour before the scheduled power outage – in order to ensure hot coffee and style-dried hair. Sliding the screen up, she taps the clock icon and squints. Slamming the phone down and pulling herself to a complete, upright position, she unfolds the glasses from the headboard shelf and hooks them over her ears. She picks the phone back up, looks, and rips the charger line from it’s socket, simultaneously dropping the phone onto the bed and standing up. “Weekend alarm, my ass. Wear your damn glasses when you set that thing, Idiot.”
Glancing at the open bathroom door, she scratches and tries to make more complete sentences in her head about … a list, what to do next, how to mix cold creamer with lukewarm coffee and it’s likelihood of working … what kind of modified breakfast she can grab that won’t piss her off. “Get it over with,” she mumbles and heads toward the shower, “Need time to air dry my hair anyway.”
Pain slices her shoulder and neck and she freezes, hoping the invisible swordsman will leave her for dead. She massages the muscle over her shoulder blade, half hugging, half choke-holding herself in the mirror. She lets out air and rips her glasses from her head, placing them on the counter in a fluid motion. She pauses only once more before flipping the water lever to warm, “Only one tank of the stuff; only time enough for half at this point.” Stripping, she showers quickly, drying off in front of a clear mirror – the steam had no time to do a proper job on it this morning. She weaves an extra amount of mousse into her wet hair and shapes it best she can. Makeup on, teeth brushed, she has selected an outfit from her closet in her mind.
Dressed and ready, she swirls what coffee was left in the pot from yesterday in a huge mug while drizzling creamer into the mix. She reminisces about chocolate milk, days when her after school snack in a house alone was a cup of yogurt and chocolate milk. She grabs a yogurt from the dead fridge – no more than a over-sized cooler at this point – and slips the creamer bottle back into the door. Careful to close the fridge as she leaves the kitchen, she balances the yogurt, spoon, and coffee in your hands and walks the balancing act to the table to park it.
She feels the ends of her hair. Still damp. Popping the laptop open, she waits for the log-on screen to become active while she eats her quick breakfast. She had charged the mac fully last night and then unplugged it for this reason. Once logged on, she opens her word processor and curses loudly again when she remembers – with the internet down, she won’t be able to open that piece she’s been working from the cloud.
Closing her eyes, she breaths in and out slowly. Her little prayer for patience and a pleasant attitude is answered by the aroma of her coffee tickling her nose. “Ah, yes. Come to me, my liquid trophy wife. You vixen of pulse rate, you.” She expects the usual ceramic warmth against her lips, but is met instead by the cold, hard reminder of a makeshift cup full of day old bitterness. Gulping it down in four swallows, she closes her mac and clears the table. “Not gonna’ be a good day,” she grumbles, and picks up her bag and keys.
She has a twenty minute drive to work, just enough time to attempt a major operation on her attitude she decides, “It’s the responsible thing to do so you don’t rip anyone’s head off today.” She flips her iPod to the “mellowness” playlist and cranks the volume as she pulls out and crawls to the stop sign. “Dammit!” she yells, as a semi-truck passes before she can turn onto the highway. “Fine! A thirty minute drive to fix this mess in my head! Whatever!”
To her delighted surprise, the truck pulls off at the mill and she has the road to herself.