These are The Things

by Natalie

I walked to the White House today. The walk there was blustery and cold, but I was walking with the wind. The walk back was bitter, snow flying forward as it swirled around unfamiliar buildings. I wrapped the scarf around my face and trudged forward, wondering why anyone ever bothered to explore the Antarctic. Then I came home and made dinner for a friend who showed up earlier than expected, and whose appearance I was both grateful for and irritated by. If I’d had no one to come over I would have felt alone; and now that I was with someone, I just wanted them to go home.

I pondered the concept of being alone both to and from the White House, contemplating the unfamiliar feeling of not quite knowing how to just be me, of longing for those things which I have had and will have again. I am normally very content to be alone, to walk along and explore things for no one other than myself. We get along well, myself and I. But today was different. Today I yearned for acknowledgement from any number of passersby, some of whom were together, some of whom were also alone.

Shortly after I came home my friend arrived, making me feel lonelier than before. Being with just anyone is worse than being alone when you just want someone. We made our way through the evening, and the effort had me exhausted. Then the sink clogged and my head hurt, and I announced that I was probably just going to go to bed, which is how we said goodbye.

I looked at the sink, and decided I couldn’t just leave the drain. I texted the landlord, but we’re snowed in. No one can come anytime soon. I decided to attempt to fix the drain myself. Scooping water out of the sink with a pot, I made multiple trips to the bathroom, where I dumped the remnants of our sink down the tub. Then there was the matter of all the dishes I had to wash, which is how I found myself in the bathroom with my sleeves rolled up, washing all of this evening’s dishes in my previously clean tub. It was then that I started to laugh, and came back to myself. Because these are the things I will remember. I might not remember the way I felt today, the minutiae of my fleeting emotions. I will remember that once upon a time I was young, I walked to the White House in the middle of a snowstorm, and that at the end of the day I washed my dishes in the tub.

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