Night’s Watch

Look outside, it’s screaming at you.

Leaves waving in the wind. Cars driving by wildly, people living lives idly. Grocery store once more, chicken is on sale and your chips have gone stale so it’s time to restock, fill the cabinets with the quiet satisfaction of knowing you have something to fill them with, all the time feeling the emptiness within you, and you make some ridiculous metaphorical connection to your kitchen cabinets and the cabinets and chambers of your heart, and boy don’t you feel fucking intelligent doing so, mighty satisfied with yourself, and congratulating yourself that you are mighty intelligent and that you are deserving, you pour yourself a drink, and keep pouring it over the ice cubes until the ice starts to melt away, and you recognize another metaphor, and like the person who found Waldo first on the page, you feel proud of yourself and a bit haughty and you beam silently, smiling to the empty room, because there’s nobody there.

There’s nobody there.

But wait you got a text message, and you bound across the room and snatch your phone up and open to the message, breath held, the harsh electric light playing over your features harshly, turning you into a ghoulish Halloween decoration strung up with kite string over the hedges to harass the approaching mad crowd, and there, now you don’t feel so alone anymore, because whosoever is texting you, and if whosoever is texting you, why, you have purpose once again, and connection, and you beam again, taking care to put the phone down lest you text them back too quickly and they assume from that that you have nothing better to do, that you weren’t in the middle of climbing to Machu Picchu, or running at the gym, or at a dinner with friends, or even (and they gasp at the terrible thought of this) with another woman or man or whoever they must imagine in order to blend their liquid thoughts into a frothy mixture of jealousy and doubt.

But eventually, counting the minutes, the seconds even, you relent. And text them. And then the wait, the watch begins.

We are every one of us the Night’s Watch, peering into the blackness, waiting helplessly for the coming light.

Arizona: day two. 

Hotel.

The single-serving size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash were all of a scent called “natural wood,” which I can only presume is why, riding down to the lobby in the elevator this morning with four others, it smells like a sawmill. During the descent, I reflect on the fact that we all washed with the same scents and soaps and used towels that were likely washed with the same detergent. How often can you say that is the case with a group of strangers?

Not often, I guess.

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