Milner suggests that you select bead memories, and write about the most important thing that happened yesterday. What simple instructions! What a Herculean task. There wasn’t a single gleaming pearl, no, but layer upon layer of nacre, various moments wrapped in a montage of the day. And these moments, they aren’t lustrous, they are insignificant, ordinary really. There I stand watching me, buffeted by winds, gripping a rail, they pass suspended.
4:36 am. T.G.I.F. Yes, an Ungodly hour to be on I-95 heading to work. Yet, some force propels one forward, amped up on achievement dopamine, a member of the Walking Dead at this hour – hulking Truckers, red tail lights of Insomniacs, and Me.
The highway fuel stop. Mobil Oil. The attendant takes the credit card, rings up the charges and hands the patron his pack of Lucky Strikes – he watches him shuffle out. His shoulders are slumped, his face expressionless, he’s anchored in the fifth hour of his graveyard shift. He breathes ever so slowly, sipping oxygen and his black coffee, teetering on the edge of Thoreau’s zone of quiet desperation. The television perched overhead has breaking news, a warhead hits a hospital in Aleppo.
I accelerate down the on-ramp, down the deep ruts of familiarity. My truck stop. My exit ramp. My I-95 S. My tight bend onto I-287. My parking garage. My parking spot. My short walk to the door. My hallway to the elevator. My two flights up. My Life. Nine years. Nine years of My Life.
I walk onto the floor.
I turn on my desk lamp, the electricity hisses, the dust motes dance, suspended in air.
I settle in.
The buzzing of a text message interrupts the silence, shaking me out of a trance. “You left early.” I glance at my watch, startled to find two hours gone.
I grip my smartphone and punch out the reply:
I couldn’t sleep. Had things that I had to do…
The most beautiful order of the world
is still a random gathering of things
insignificant of themselves.
—Herakleitos (535 BC – 475 BC)