A Sudden Silence

5:45 AM. Bleep. Bleeep. Bleeeeeeeep. My hand scrambles from under the comforter and slaps awkwardly around the nightstand. Finally it finds the OFF button. I stare at the ceiling, appreciate the sudden silence. The dark brown curtains are drawn together. My toes peek out at me at the end of the bed. A stapled collection of drafted contracts tickle my shoulder-blade. And then, any bliss I could find in the first half of my day is gone. Back to the dreaded reality. A few dramatic sighs pushed from my throat ignited a deep morning stretch. The kind that momentarily paralyzes your extremities as they reach for every corner of the bed. I’m a star! My little league soccer coach told us to yell, as we warmed up with star jumps. He didn’t tell us it wasn’t true. That it may never be true.

I pull the crinkled contracts from underneath me and toss them to the floor next to the bed. I swing my legs over the side of the bed and press my feet to the floor. Time to get going. My thumb flips up the switch next to the door frame of my closet, powering two dangling lightbulbs to life. Five dark grey suits hang, ironed and pressed. Six button-up shirts, long and short sleeve in muted colors, hang next to them. Seven ties drape over a wide stool, with two pairs of shiny black shoes underneath it. With the exception of a pair of worn UMass sweatpants and a few Hanes white t-shirts, this is my wardrobe. I chose a light yellow shirt and the suit farthest to the left.

In the kitchen down the hallway from my bedroom, I watch coffee pot slowly filling up for a few minutes. It was the initial purchase I made on my first credit card, back in college. It’s one of the few things that lasted the move from New Hampshire across the Atlantic. Check the neon green digital numbers on the oven. 6:12 AM. In a few minutes, I’ll siphon the Green Mountain brew into three thermoses, the green light across Gatsby’s bay guiding me through the day. Coffee addict? My coworkers ask. Just a taste of home, I reply. They hide their addictions to caffeine before the doors of The Espresso Room, Costa and Starbucks, occupying those wide leather chairs for no reason more than a precious refill. We New Englanders, we brew our own, skip the pretentious lines and flirtatious numbers written on Venti to-go cups. Or maybe we’re ignoring that the barista wants us to leave more than we need her hand-crafted extra foam.

I pop two slices of granary bread into the toaster, and reach for the peanut butter in the cupboard above. Peanut butter, another indulgence from the American shelf at Tesco. I scrape the bottom of the container for every creamy ounce left and spreading it across the seedy, now toasted, bread. I take a wide bite and burnt crumbs waterfall down my tie and shirt. Another Tuesday morning.

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