The Moments Before

It’s the moments before I write that I’m most introspective. Sitting on my bed at school, propped against one of the five pillows that line my bed; at home leaning sideways on the little couch, bare feet crossed, sticking slightly to the cool brown leather seat. The computer on my lap has long passed six years old- roughly 147 in laptop years- and its fan whirs, providing a long hum of background sound to the music I’m flipping through on Spotify.

Often, it’s Facebook, gmail, blog reading pages that occupy my mind before I begin to write. Eyes flicking across the white screen. Maybe I think about a lot during these internet perusing moments, as my mind mirrors my eyes, wandering across messages, pages, pictures, notifications, communication. Maybe I think, but I don’t pause, don’t consider, and often, it’s not until I open WordPress, watch the blinking line wait patiently, rhythmically, for me to type, that I truly begin to think.

I begin to wonder what I’ll write, then.

There are stories, of course. You’ve heard me say that before. On evenings when this space is quiet, and there are no new words, it’s hardly the result of lack of stories. Occasionally, I come to this WordPress square and watch the mouse blink across my screen, only to leave WordPress without having shared with you one word.

But on nights like tonight, in the quiet after email, I sit, rewind my mind to what has happened, what I’ve thought, what I am thinking now; what I’m doing and saying and choosing and anticipating. And the thoughts are so many and so varied, and the stories jumble upon one another, creating a cascade of memory, emotion, introspection and wonder, and I simply cannot choose what I will write.

Because there is Mar on the other end of a texting thread that stretches back now three years, a freshman friendship that bent and stretched, and came near breaking a time or two, but we’re nearly a month past her graduation, past hugs on the stone staircase of the Moody Church, and we swap words like treats, sneaking morsels of conversation between work, meals, bedtimes that misalign by almost three hours. And some nights, like Monday, we splurge on these emoji-peppered texts, and we text fast, lengthy, deep, and the conversation topics spin and fly, alternating and returning like some wired game of tennis with seven balls in place of one.

And there is work, standing pool-side with three others, gaggle of miniature athletes gazing up- and all too often around, past, above us- as we direct them. We mix instruction with input and a healthy dose of the personal relationships we’ve built this practice upon: jokes with little swimmers, high fives that send water droplets dancing, landing fat, cold, on my forehead, my neck, my eyelashes.

And there is memory, a multi-volume series of conversations, ideas, moments, that I’ve stored, willingly, or that have stored themselves as I look on, shrugging in veiled agreement as what I’ve seen, heard, said, considered, becomes that which I will never forget.

And so writing goes.

Sometimes there is much to say, yet little time.

Sometimes there is barely anything to say at all,

and I’m left thinking, wondering, wracking my memory for

what I’ll share next.

And some nights, like tonight, I’m a thousand places at once,

with the stories and the moments and the lessons

of the past weeks boiling, beginning to bubble inside my head, my heart,

and I just cannot decide what I’ll write about next.

~Natalia

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