I used to love sleeping in.
Would never have a reason to not stay in bed, hidden under downy and warmth and the hearth going on beside me. There was always a fire inside me that needed more fire...light. Passion. I would be in peace, relaxed, not a care or worry in the world, for there was never any danger that could reach me unless I left the comforts of such a bed. I could not understand the reason why some woke up at such atrocious times when sleep was delightful and worth it all.
How stupidly naïve I was back then.
For I have no fire or light left in me anymore.
That's why I was awake at five AM on the dot every morning, weekday, weekend, day off or on.
Sleep was a master deceiver. And I couldn't stand sleeping longer when my imagination wandered into severely dark places I had to lock in a titanium vault with several passcodes, a giant titanium key and iron finger print scan. Something that would cause me physical and mental pain to try and open.
I was in the shower as soon as the clock said 5:05.
I was out at 5:20.
I sat at the table with a weak chai latte with a tiny drizzle of honey and two pieces of slightly burnt toast with my favorite strawberry jam at 5:30. The next thirty minutes allowed my mind to slowly come down from the rush and the tremors that ran down my body had started to quell down during the shower, allowing me to relax and accustom to my home.
Focus on breathing...in and out, nice and slow like they say. Focus on just breathing. You're here. Only here. Nice and safe. Cozy. Nesting.
By the time I had finished the last of my chai, the throbbing in the back of my mind slowed to a very faint hum like muffled cries underwater. I could ignore that.
I can ignore it for now.
I left my dishes in the sink to deal with once I got home after work and attended to my own self to ready for work. My hair was always a mess and took too much care to deal with but I was taming the lengthy mass I had settled into. Today though...
Cursing and muttering about threats to my hair as if were a living person itself, I rough housed my hair into a bun that sat messily at the top of my head. I wrestled my shoes on after my work clothes, grabbing my handbag.
Lights? Don't forget again.
And be aware of your surroundings? Always.
The distant hum in the back of my head arose, sending a numbing chill down my spine as I stood mere inches from my door for several heart-pounding seconds. My palms clammy, shaky breaths escaping from my chest.
Breath in and out. Like we've practiced. In...and out. In through the nose...out through the mouth. You need to taste fresh air. You need to get to work.
Funny my appreciation for work could slip through the mind-numbing terror that could slowly creep in over me like a tidal wave.
No one is there. Just peek through the door and you'll see like always, nothing.
An ugly gulp I swallowed while my hand, laced with tremors slowly rising for the deadbolts I had implemented since I moved in here five years ago. The bolts clinked and the door lock click as I unlocked it. My breathing heavy and but I was focused on anything else, like the paper! That should be in. I could use something to read later tonight. Twisting the doorknob, I slowly inched the door open thanks the chain and lock that held the door in place and peeked through the gap, down the hallway, though it was hard to see too far either side.
See, no one there as usual. Now you can breathe easier-
"Oh goodness, Tanya dear, I'm so sorry dear."
My heart thundered a mile a minute as my breathing bordered on an asthmatic attack, my chest shuddering with shaky breaths. I was already sweating through my jacket and clothes. my vision grew clouded as I clutched my chest where my heart went to panic mode.
Oh sweet baby birds in a mother tucking nest! God, why does she do that!?
I leaned my arms on the door along with my forehead as I focused on breathing and trying not to let a panic attack happen that would make me miss out the morning rush for work and lose all progress I was timidly making my way through.
Breathe. In and out. In. Then out. Oh God, it's just Mrs. Clutters. Your elderly neighbor!
My heart was pounding the rhythm of the Jaw's theme song at its end once the gruesome attack was finished for now. My heart twitched when there was a few loud raps on the door, Mrs. Clutters voice shrieking through the door as though I couldn't damn well hear her.
"Tanya dearie, are you still there? I didn't mean to give you quite a fright there, but you did give me a fright yourself when you slammed the door in my face-"
Oh for the love of all that is holy!
Glaring at the wooden surface as I stepped back and forcefully opened the door but managed to reign in some control so I could face my slightly senile and chatterbox of a neighbor.
"Mrs. Clutters, my apologies but I don't expect a person to appear out of nowhere, much less yell my name." Oh, I tried so hard to keep my voice calm and overly polite.
"That's okay dearie. Like I said, didn't mean to scare you." Mrs. Clutters laughed her high-pitched cackle that made me cringe in pity for all those poor souls who could hear her. "You're much too young to be startled and have heart attacks. I mean, I tell you my sisters neighbors brother-in-laws father, a real friendly chap, hard working, a little off in his world- but friendly, got so startled for his 50th birthday because you know surprise parties..."
Is she breathing at all?
I was in a daze just listening to her yammer on and on about her sisters something-something, humming and awing in the right places to at least contain a polite presence. It would not do me well to upset the lady with a voice whose quiet levels woke up the rooms next to her still. I don't want to be the person she yammers on and on about at the phone late in the evening and why I am such a mean girl.
Although, the thought of being rude right now was tempting just so I could get back at her for that heart attack I had just passed and lived through. I'm sure my soul floated briefly for a second.
"-I was wondering how one could give such a present for a 50th. I mean, the atrocity of such a gift from such a gold-digging wh-"
"Mrs. Clutters, I do apologize to cut you off but the time is six-thirty and I really need to get to work." I hated to admit I felt like chastising myself for the rude cut off but my nerves were acting noting I had thirty minutes to get to work, which I had plenty of time but I preferred to be in a comfortable environment than standing in limbo, stressing...panicking...being watched.
"Oh pardon me dearie. I forgot what it's like to be a hard-working hippie. Why back in my day I was never one for skimping out on a day of pay and was always eager to get in early and rise to the top. That's how I ended up with such a good work ethic. I should give you some advice."
"That'd be delightful."
"Well then, you best be off dearie. Just standing there listening to little old me yammering off about everything is not a good look on you."
Gritting my teeth, I nodded smiling politely, locking my door quickly and hurried the corridor listening to Mrs. Clutter chatter to herself and the rest of the floor that was stuck listening to her. I could breathe a little easier once the elevator doors shut in front of me, my shoulders slumping and a heavy sigh escaping me.
It was gonna be one of those days.