My co-worker and I slumped against opposite elevator walls like we were riding the Gravitron. “I’ve been here for three years and this has been the most chaotic week by far,” she said.
“Same,” I said. “Most chaotic week in almost ten years for me.”
“That makes me feel a little better,” she said.
At one time a week half this crazy would have ended in a very different Friday night. But tonight, I changed clothes and ran five miles down 1st Ave and back, past the Bread of Life Mission. I like a mission with a good name, a name in touch with reality. There are usually men lined up outside and not a single one of them has ever bothered me, ever. Sometimes when I pass I think of watching COOL HAND LUKE on TV–turning to my boyfriend halfway through and saying “Were these guys all jailed for being too *nice?*” Or maybe they can tell we have things in common. The run didn’t strip the week away like I wanted it to. But then, wine never did either. It just made me think I didn’t care, and then later that I didn’t deserve to care. Better to know I deserve to care, whether or not things go the way I want, which they often don’t. I want a lot now and the odds are still the odds.
There was a little gift box waiting at home, from my husband’s secret store. A necklace of leather, metal, and antler. “That’s warrior jewelry,” he said. And a mysterious envelope marked ‘Do not bend.’ I opened it nervously–who in this day and age gets *envelopes* anymore? What if it contained a curse from a distant age?
But it was just a sheet of paper with the lyrics to the Trash Can Sinatras song ‘Weightlifting’ handwritten in ball point pen, signed by the band members–I must have funded something and forgotten. I’ve heard the song hundreds of times: electric, acoustic, live, recorded. Once in person. Still, I read the lyrics as if they were new, and gasped a little at the line ‘You could make your way out if you lay down the load.’ All these years I’d thought it was ‘the law,’ not the load. I thought I was supposed to *lay down the law* to be free. But I was wrong; the proof was right there in Bic: just drop what you’re dragging around.
“Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle,” I said out loud.
“Did you just say you’d be a monkey’s uncle?” John called from the kitchen.
“Yes,” I said. “Yes, I did.”