"Do you need a gift receipt?" she asked and I looked at my items on the counter and cocked my head at her. She glanced down at the cat litter and toilet paper, bottled water and laundry detergent and shrugged.
"No. Thanks," I finally said and returned her holiday wishes before pushing my red cart toward my black Jeep. Given that my gifts are wrapped and packed in boxes and bags, my shopping trips are now for essential items and not whimsical gifts. I didn't send Christmas cards, but I never do. I am enjoying mint mochas and random treats at work.
The pre-holiday lull has extended to the office. Banks of lights remained extinguished today and there was a general hush as we glanced around to see who'd left early to head home and watched with vague curiosity as others checked flights through Europe.
"Friday," I replied when various colleagues asked about my trip to my parents' house. "Then I'll be back on Tuesday, I think. It'll be a short trip this year - the house is kind of crowded with Brother and his girlfriend and the Ones." But I like the shift - I've whittled my email down to less than 10 messages. My to-do list is getting done. I feel rather industrious as I work while others take vacation and bustle around the building happily.
I've grown used to waddling across icy patches and grinning over paw prints in the snow. I have gloves in all my coat pockets and scarves scattered about. And if I'm not blissful, I'm quietly content.
I'm mostly quietly content.
"What if," I asked Doug once, "being alone is my ground state? My electrons are currently excited - I'm dating and thinking of people and trying to figure out how I might look in a couple. But my atomic structure hasn't changed. Eventually, it seems like those electrons are going to lose energy - return to their original orbitals."
Which will result in an emission of blog posts.
But is currently making me sad.
But mostly? I'm quietly content.