Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Confess

She drives into the city today for a hair appointment, where the girl who dries her hair has a skull and crossbones tattoo with a pink bow just under her ear. Her arms are covered in ink, and her earlobes have stretchers in them. Her lip is pieced, and if she weren't the size of a twelve-year old, she might be scary. Inked-girl does a mean style, though.

She leaves feeling like she looks better than she has in, oh, eight weeks. Since her last appointment. She walks with her head held high, without a hat on, daring the wind that comes whipping off the ocean to mess with her. She crosses the brick street, feeling a yearning that hasn't come in a while: a yearning for her city mouse roots. But there's only a half-hour before she's required Elsewhere. She sighs, tempted by the thought of a hot chocolate at the local coffee shop, but she turns toward the parking garage instead.

On days like this, where the sky is so blue it looks like she could dive in and never come up for air; when the tide is high and ice floes in the estuary look like stepping stones to another life; when a brush with civilization calls out to her until she's nearly breathless with the longing, she wishes, oddly enough, that she had employment of a different kind. Employment that might require that she actually go somewhere on a regular basis, to a place that has a water cooler, people standing around it, and 80s music playing on a tinny radio. Where she would have to put on clothes that match, not just stay in her pjs until a scandalous time of day. Where she could sport her new haircut and it might matter. Where she wouldn't have to face the empty page each day.

It's a dumb thought, she knows, but she can't help wishing for a little less solitude. She pulls out of the parking garage and turns on the radio. Her ears perk to the sound of the Rolling Stones singing on the radio: "You can't always get what you wa-ant. You can't always get what you wa-ant. You can't always get what you wa-ant. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you nee-eed."

She laughs at the irony--a message from Mick--telling her that she would despise a job that required a daily schedule, a commute, W-2 forms, cubicles, even the need to do her hair every day. Blaugh. Even worse than that, she would despise not being able to be with her gingerbread boys. If the truth be told, that is where she is required this afternoon: hanging with gingerbread boy #2 and his fellow first graders during writing time, those small trusting souls who still make their J's backwards.

But on a day like this, with the sky so blue, she wishes she could have it both ways.

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