Saturday, November 08, 2008

The First Fire

"It could be seasonal," Friend informed me of my struggle. I smiled, not because I particularly appreciated the advice, but because she had - not an hour earlier - told me that she understood I didn't want help and didn't want to talk and that was my choice but if I needed anything, I could call or write and she would listen.

"Thanks," I said simply of the former offer, withdrawing further into my shell of solitude. But I guessed she'd try again - Friend is good at the gentle nudges.

I found I felt better as we chatted - she typed that she was also very tired and a bit off lately. Perhaps I'm not so sick after all, I pondered hopefully. My brain just misses the sunshine and there are far worse things than that. So I took a walk yesterday, Chienne trotting happily at my side, and tried to work at an acceptable pace. I gave myself a break when I had to nap, head throbbing after dealing with more people who were disappointed in my lack of responses.

I woke this morning and smiled at the flurries falling outside the glass doors in my bedroom. I shifted so I could watch the tiny flakes swirl downward, melting as soon as they touched the deck off my second floor. I said good morning to the dog and cat, the former buried under blankets as she yawned widely, and got up to shower. I tugged on my robe after I was clean - soft, green terrycloth that I've had since college and rarely use - and went downstairs to fetch the clean laundry I'd forgotten to tote to the bedroom last night. I sipped coffee and settled into my chair to work, beginning to wade through emails and type out recommendation documents.

They day passed rather quietly - the chilly weather keeping my neighbors indoors and the weekend meaning most people (not me!) stayed away from their email so as not to reply to the messages I sent. I paused, realizing I could breathe a bit easier, when I was down to 20 messages from 300. The task had taken a good part of the day, but I'd relaxed into the work - the flow of communication and questions and decisions to be made - and it finally seemed manageable again.

"Better," I told Mom when we talked in the late morning. I'd called her once this week when I was terrified they were coming this weekend for a visit. "Next weekend, right?" I clarified. "I'm too busy right now - do not come here this weekend!"

"Good," she replied, sounding relieved. "I've been praying for you." I nodded, thinking that was a good plan, and talked to Dad for a bit before hanging up and returning to my work.

"Oh," I offered before I ended the call, "I'm going to light the fireplace today." I grinned into the silence that followed that statement, picturing them looking across the room at each other with alarm. "It'll be fine," I promised, "but should I blow myself up, I love you both very much."

"She'll end up moving home," Dad predicted of my gas+fire ability. "Then we'll have that dog and cat again."

But it went rather easily. I turned the little key in the socket on the floor and flicked on my lighter-device. My tiny yip of alarm was immediately replaced by a lengthy coo of pure pleasure when the fire whooshed and caught, filling the room with flicking light from orange and blue flames.

"Please," I said when I realized Friend thought I had lit wood on fire. "Like I could ever do that. Honestly." She agreed after a moment, but said gas wasn't the same.

"No," I replied, "but I can use it and it's very pretty and soothing." So I keep looking past the screen of my laptop at the fire that laps at what must be some faux-wood substance and makes the fascinating fluff under the "logs" glow orange. It's not sunshine - and this job is still going to be rough for the next few months - but today is much better than yesterday.


Anonymous said...

It's good that you are feeling more upbeat.

Amanda said...

I'm so glad that today is better for you. I hope that tomorrow is even better!

TitleTroubles said...

Because I know you, and you weren't ready to hear it before. Goose. That's also why I didn't ask you to talk about how you were doing. Because I said I wouldn't. I never promised I wouldn't tell you how I felt, though. (And I'm happy if it helped. Now, any idea how I could get about a week of sleep?)

Unbalanced Reaction said...

WHile I think it's very soothing to watch flames flicker, the idea of having to light/maintain a fireplace freaks me out. I'm glad you got yours going!

JaneB said...

Glad to hear that!

I can so relate to what you're feeling - seasonal or not (I think not for me, I LOVE fall), everything is Too Much right now. I've just cancelled a trip to a meeting to focus on getting on top of all the 'other stuff'... have just snuggled into my own cosy dressing gown and am considering lighting the fire later. Wish there was a chance of snow here!!

Psych Post Doc said...

The fire is beautiful. I am so jealous, it's the one thing my new house is missing. Maybe someday.

I'm glad you relaxed a bit and are starting to feel better.

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