This post is part of the weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!
For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you know that Story has been a recurring character in my not-so fiction. If you want the rest of the story, you’re welcome to dig in to our past “conversations:”
It was a long day. A bone-tired day. The kind of day where she comes home from school and wants to get right into pajamas. But she doesn’t, because there are dishes and laundry and housework and cooking and homework. It was the kind of day where going to bed feels terrible because she knows she’s going to just have to get up and repeat the whole process the next day.
THAT kind of day.
She kicked away her sandals at the front door, narrowly missing the dogs. She gave each one a head pat and a butt scratch before shooing them into the yard for a long-awaited doing of business. School bags got dropped, one after the other, on the floor or the kitchen table or the counter – it didn’t matter, so long as she didn’t have to shoulder them any more.
What to tackle first, she thought. Empty the dishwasher? Walk the dog? Call her mom? Answer emails? Vacuum up the dog hair dust bunnies from the family room rug? Sometimes, she thought, the best solution to too much is nothing.
A few moments, she thought. Just a few moments to sit outside on the deck, to absorb some sunshine, to listen to the cicadas, to let myself just…sit…still. She made her way to the deck, found the chair in her favorite, sunniest spot, pulled another one up for her feet, and sank down to spend some quality time with the inside of her eyelids.
“It’s been a minute.”
She didn’t need to open her eyes to know who had just pulled up beside her.
Maybe if she just sat there without responding, Story would go away, kind of like when the dog wakes her up at three a.m. Five seconds went by. Ten. Fifteen.
Story cleared her throat. “You know I’m still here, right?”
“About that. You’re HERE. Usually you wait until I’m at a Starbucks to catch me off guard. Somewhere in public, where I know you’ll behave yourself. Can’t you give me just a little bit of peace in my own back yard?”
“Now that’s a good one,” Story chuckled. “When have you ever known me to give you a bit of peace?”
“I don’t know,” she responded. “You haven’t visited me for a while. I thought maybe you had moved on.”
“Moved on? HA! Oh, my friend, you may not have seen me in a while, but I am always, always here. Whether or not you acknowledge me, I’m wherever you go.”
“I’m not sure if I should be comforted or creeped out.”
Story shrugged. “It’s your imagination. You decide.”
“That makes the question even harder.”
“Well,” Story said, “all I know is you’ve been scarce. I miss you. Listen, not to guilt trip you or anything –“
“–but it’s not just me. I’ve been talking to Poetry, to Memoir, to Essay, the whole gang. Nobody’s seen you around. What gives?”
She felt her shoulders go heavy, her stomach clinch. Why had she been staying away? Was it lack of discipline? Dried-up creative juices? Plain old apathy? Perhaps, she figured, it was a mixture of the three. “I don’t know,” she said. “I guess…I haven’t felt like writing lately.”
“Haven’t felt like it? Haven’t FELT like it? C’mon. How many writers sit down and write every day because they FEEL like it? Honey, both you and I know you’ve let yourself go. It’s time to slide on back and hang out a little more often. No pressure, no guilt or shame.” Story thought a moment, reconsidered. “Well, maybe a LITTLE guilt or shame. You’ve hung me out to dry, you know.”
“Mmm, I like the no guilt or shame route. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a rough go these last months.”
“All the more reason you should be writing. You’ve got things to say, my friend. It’s time to get saying them.”
Here we go again, she thought, as she opened her computer, squared her shoulders, and placed her fingers at the keyboard.