Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rough start

Back to bed, I told myself sternly, leaving the laptop with many blog entries to be read. It was early – around 4, I think – and I may have left some incoherent comments (sorry about that, some of you) while appreciating some really good pieces of writing. I like blogs very much.

So I cuddled back into the soft sheets and fluffy comforter and battled consciousness, eager for a couple more hours of sleep, but lost. I dozed just a tiny bit, but stayed awake. Just thinking. Not unhappy or panicked – just awake and thoughtful. I finally relaxed into dreams just as the sun was trying to come up. Then I jerked myself awake – I’d come back early so I could attend meetings today so it would suck to miss them.

“6:20.” I mumbled, then stayed in that position – propped up on one elbow, trying to gather my thoughts to decide if I had time to sleep more or should get up. I flipped the covers back, then thought some more. Tugged them back up and cuddled into bed again.

“Meeting at 9.” I said softly, trying to focus. “Be there by 8:30 so I can get to the office and drop stuff off at my desk. So…” I broke off to yawn, trying to resume my calculations. “Um…traffic will be bad. I should leave here by 7:30 at the latest. I showered last night – don’t have to do that. I’ll pull my hair back. Wear…something. With my new black flats.” Then I closed my eyes and smiled, thinking about my new black flats. The ballet kind. With tiny bows over the toes.

I gasped when I woke again, frantically checking the time and noting only 10 minutes had passed. I was still tired but hurried out of bed and toward coffee.

I’d been dreaming, I remembered. I’d been ready – wearing my black flats and arriving at work a bit early for my meeting. But my plant wasn’t on my filing cabinet where I’d left it. Sick with worry, I looked around frantically. I disrupted my officemates with questions about my violet.

“Have you seen it?” I asked, heartbroken. I feel badly for dream Katie just thinking of it. “Where did it go?” I blinked back tears, looking at both men beseechingly. We had to find the plant.

“Someone threw it away, I think.” Said the grad student in my dream, not unkindly. I could tell he was worried about me – not understanding why I was so very upset, but recognizing my extreme emotion.

“No.” I said in disbelief. “I wanted it. It was on my shelf. My cabinet – it was on my cabinet, not bothering anyone, and it didn’t deserve to be thrown away! When?! When did someone throw it away?! I wanted it! We have to find it!”

Both men moved to help me, looking behind desks and in filing cabinets for the lost plant. I started tossing papers out of the trash can – breathing shallowly, searching anxiously.

I found it at the bottom. All the dirt was gone – it was just a few leaves on thin vines with sickly looking stems in its container.

“Why?” I cried softly, cradling the plant – it didn’t look like a violet at all – to my chest protectively. “Why did someone throw my plant away?”

“You didn’t water it.” The other of the two men offered gently. “I guess someone thought you didn’t want it anymore.”

“I did want it.” I said, my voice growing ever softer as I grieved. “I was going to water it as soon as I got back. I was. I’m sorry. So, so sorry.”

[That made me cry again – hold on while I get a Kleenex.]

I basically did the same thing this morning – forced myself awake, busied my hands with making coffee and brushing teeth - eager for distraction. Threw on clothes and put my flats in my bag (they’re new, so I knew they’d hurt) and wore my more comfortable strappy sandals with a gentle heel. I drank half a cup of coffee, did my makeup, fed the animals and headed out the door. I turned on my audiobook for the ride in. Rush hour equates to a long commute and I made more progress on this particular story.

But I listened and laughed lightly and inched forward on the interstate. I arrived at campus, secured a parking spot and caught the bus to the office. It’s freaking muggy out [insert scowling and swearing] and I didn’t want to sweat through a walk. But I settled into a fairly peaceful series of thoughts that would continue – on and off – throughout the day. Marriage, dating, how to determine if a man was right for me, the difference in how age/maturity affects how I view people and events.

I unlocked my office door, and remembered my dream. I flipped on the light – I hadn’t asked anyone to water the violet in my absence – and looked toward my filing cabinet. The one that’s a bit wobbly and sits upside down. I picked up the violet – healthy with its softly fuzzy self sporting three new leaves – light green and small – growing in the center. I gently plucked the dead blooms from the center. It’s all green leaves now – no purple flowers. Then I took its clear plastic dish and put water in it from the bathroom sink. I settled the plastic pot – full of dirt, roots and healthy, green leaves – in the shallow water and settled into gratitude that the plant was OK.

(The plant was Winnie’s. Jill kept it at her desk and said it bloomed and grew like crazy after she took it from Winnie’s office.

“It’s like she’s telling me she’s OK. That everything will work out.” Jill cried one day.

I raised an eyebrow (she didn’t see) even as I comforted her. The plant didn’t mean that much to me – or so I’d thought, I guess – but I desperately wanted to do a good job caring for it. For Jill. And, I think, for Winnie. I still miss her. I’m still terribly sad when I think of her.)

But I checked my email and went to my meeting, arriving right on time. Who schedules a 2 hour meeting? People who need 2 hours to get through their material, I answered my own question with a nod. So I wasn’t so wise to place meetings – both with people far more important than I am – immediately back to back. So I sheepishly excused myself from the early meeting to make the later one, waiting patiently for the VIP to finish up her previous engagement.

I’d been dreading that particular obligation, but it went well. Her normally brusque manner eased a bit – we laughed and worked quickly. It happens to be a very easy job that a grad student struggled with because it was outside his realm of interest. I, in contrast, want to learn this stuff and am eager to get my toe in the door with VIP. I was very relieved when the meeting ran long, yet was completely productive and pleasant.

I returned to the office to a missed lunch invitation, though Friend and I did meet up later. I was limping after only 30 minutes in my pretty black flats. But they were ever so nice to look at. And I think they’ll be less painful next time. Eventually, they’ll be super comfortable. Really.

I sent three documents to three different boards/committees/people. (Screwing with my mind, I tell you. Seriously.) I organized email and consulted my list of projects to complete. It’s going reasonably well. It was a good day.

I returned home – another hour of audiobook down – and settled in to read blogs and watch television. I bounced back up – already after dark – with the memory that I was going to decorate my Christmas tree. My attic – blessedly uninhabited by intruders – doesn’t have lights, so the tree will wait another day. But the angels are on the television, nativity scene on my shelves and Mr. and Mrs. Santa on my mantle. I’m happy for now.

But I fear I’ll have some sort of nervous breakdown if that violet takes a turn for the worse. I’m profoundly grateful that it’s a kind plant and is doing so well for me. I’m also thankful for having a productive day today – for feeling my early return to work was worthwhile.

Not a bad day at all, despite a rather difficult beginning.


Lucy said...

did you write that dream in your not-blue book to show the counsellor? :)

I'm glad your day turned out okay.

The Contessa said...

I'm glad your african violet is OK.

I love your writing style - I am seriously getting lots of good things from you every time I read.

Your entries about the holiday and family time were simply wonderful and made me re-evaluate my own family and our relationships and I realized that I want ours to be like that too. Obviously not exactly, but ease of love. It doesn't have to be this hard. That's my new years resolution.

You are simply Magnificent. You too could be a Contessa!

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