I rode the subway six times on Wednesday. Seven if you count when I missed my stop and had to double back. I missed 72nd on the C and ended up at Columbus Circle. I was reading a good book.
Fall hit us like a brick wall—if the brick wall was shot out of a cannon. I imagine us with our fingers intertwined, standing Red Rover style and bracing. Bracing only helped a little.
“Us” is S. and me. S. is dancing full time, and I have started writing more hours every week on top of my fitness work. My novel was supposed to be drafted by my birthday, but that’s a couple weeks away. The truth is, that even if I had giant swaths of time, I can distract a day away.
Tuesday night, S. proofed a draft for me (I used the words “just” and “stupid” too many times, they said). S. had their feet in a small bucket of ice and a heating pad wrapped around their neck. Multi-tasking is key when fall hits.
When I got home at 9:30pm after coaching, that was how I found S.: ice, heat, a printed draft of my story, laptop open, pen in hand, phone playing music from the Calm app (supposedly to encourage focus, but it gave me anxiety). I asked them if they ever thought about what our lives would be like if we weren’t bogged down by our artistic ambitions. If our days started at 9am and ended at 6pm, and we came home for TV and dinner or any number of soft hobbies. Collecting stamps or something. I could just sit and read a book without thinking about the role of time in the plot. S. could listen to a piece of music without breaking it down into counts and gestures. I could cook real recipes from cookbooks, and we would use free time to go to the movies or out to dinner, rather than a cramped creative panic (I only have two hours to work! AHHHH!). Maybe I’d have a favorite wine if we weren’t creative. Maybe S. would have a favorite vacation spot.
S. looked up from my draft. She was eating a granola bar for dinner. “We’d hate that,” they said simply, turning back to a notebook page with the date scratched at the top. A to do list.
We would hate that.