Lightening Her Load

4400710906_9066eb587bIt seemed as if the rain would never end.  This was the third day in a row that Nora woke to the sound of it against her bedroom window and, looking out through the space between the curtains, she cursed at the gray, cloud-filled sky.  In moderation, Nora enjoyed the rain.  There was a cozy peace about it as if the world collectively agreed to slow down for a time.  Permission was granted to pull up the covers for just a little longer and to linger over coffee poured into a real mug instead of a paper to-go cup.  But after three days she had had enough, and the lack of sunshine began to have a noticeable effect on her mood.  She no longer felt cozy and comforted; she felt cold and tired…and it was only Monday.

Looking over at the clock, Nora was relieved to see she had half an hour left before she would have to get up and start the process of readying herself for work.  Usually on days like this it was her habit to be jolted from sleep by the clanging of the alarm, or to precede it by 5 minutes…just enough time to be completely annoyed that rolling over and going back to sleep was not an option.  But today, Nora found herself fully awake with time to spare and a bladder that was urging her to get out of bed.  Even so, she felt cheated.  Relenting, Nora crawled from beneath her heavy blankets and headed for the bathroom.  The floor felt cold under her feet and she reached for her robe, a chill running up her spine.

From the bathroom Nora could smell the aroma of brewing coffee as it wafted through the air, filling her apartment with a pleasant warmth that beckoned her toward the kitchen.  She thanked herself for spending the extra money on the machine with the automatic start feature and thought for the first time that perhaps this day wouldn’t be all bad.  While the coffee finished brewing, Nora reached for her purse and stuck her hand inside its deep interior; fumbling for the tube of lip balm she was sure lay somewhere at the bottom.  Coming up empty, she turned on the light and peered inside, pushing things about and rummaging until, in frustration, she turned it upside down and dumped the entire contents out onto the kitchen table.  A lipstick tube rolled off onto the floor, as did a few spare coins that clanked loudly before racing out of the kitchen and scattering off into the other room.

Nora stared at the heaping mess in front of her.  There was her wallet, fat with plastic cards of all types… a credit card, an ATM card, insurance card, a library card, her driver’s license, and a multitude of reward cards.  Nora never used those stupid reward cards despite the urging of sales clerks.  There were so many it was simply too overwhelming to hunt through them all…and so they sat, mostly unused, from the day she first placed them in the abyss that was her purse.  That was true about quite a few things sitting there in that heap on her kitchen table.  She pulled the reward cards from her wallet and tossed them into the waste bin.   There was a hair brush that she no longer used, having cut her hair short months ago.  And a granola bar that had rattled around at the bottom of her purse for so long that it no longer held its bar shape, now merely a small, shiny bag of crumbs.  They, too, went into the waste bin.  Inspired, Nora continued through the pile tossing old mascara, a worn out emery board, and a pack of gum she had decided she didn’t like after trying the very first piece.  By the time she finished, all that remained on the table were those items that served a useful purpose.  Well… there was the small stone with the words just try painted on one side.  Nora liked to hold it and rub it between her fingers when she needed a little extra confidence, letting its familiar smoothness reassure her.  And as she considered that a useful enough purpose, it made the cut and was placed back into her purse with the other items that remained.   Lifting her purse from the table, its newfound lightness surprised her.

The coffee had finished brewing by now, and Nora stood from the table to pour herself a cup.  She still had a few minutes left before she’d need to shower and dress and prepare for the day.  Still thinking about her purse, Nora felt slightly energized.  She had forgotten for a while to be annoyed by the rain or the fact that it was Monday.  She was not thinking about the report due at work that she had not yet even started, or why her neighbor had ignored her hello as she passed him in the hall coming home last night.  Instead she noticed the sweetness of her coffee and the softness of her robe and her mind ticked off the lunch she had scheduled with a friend for Wednesday and the tickets she had for a concert Friday night.   Nora smiled and headed for the bathroom, a lightness in her step.  And as she stood in the shower and the water poured over her, she began to go through her thoughts like the items from her purse.  Slowly, her life seemed less and less like a burden to bear and, toweling off, Nora found herself looking forward to the day.

© Kelly Rainey and, 2015.  

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