The New Memory

I'm barely awake, and Iím kind of seeing the world like I am still in the dream I was having when he called to wake me up. Something about if I signed this poster for the football player, then his wife was going to get strep throat.

The guys in the drive-thru coffee place look almost real but I feel like they canít actually be there. Should it be open? Itís not. Theyíre getting ready to open.
I brushed my teeth right?
Gently, like my new favorite dentist told me to?
I know I did.

I can see my breath.
And itís raining.
Iím not really in my head yet, from waking up.
The sleep and the rain and the cold and then the phone and pressing warm tap water into my eyes to get the sleep out, even just a little; brushing my teethÖ none of it has come together yet to make me all the way awake.

Go in if thereís no answer, I remember. I remember that much from my wake up call, even though I've already forgotten the dream I was having.

But thereís no need to just go in, no need to even get all the way to the door. Heís waiting for me already.
I start to descend into myself more fully when I stop the car outside his house. As Iím walking up to the door, I hear a door clicking open and it has to be his Ė it is; I hear the bass in his almost-whisper as he says something to the dog.
Iíve paused and am waiting on the rain-blackened walkway for him to come around the corner.

I catch him smile when he sees me and itís a frozen, visceral, photographic, slow-motion moment for me.
A huge smile when he sees me and, almost fully awake, my impulse response is to match it.

And you know, maybe itís not ME thatís making him smile like that. Maybe itís the rarity of rain and cold, or the car parked legally but still flashing its hazards because I am a nervous weirdo; maybe his smile is so warm and real that itís almost a laugh because I look like a crazy homeless person in red pants and a long black sweater, a hat with brown, blue, and orange in it and with my hands pressed in a praying fist of grey wool mittens and pressed to my mouth. Maybe itís for going back to work, or for being up so early with the whole day ahead, for the rain, for the snow on the moutnain tops, for the clouds still hanging in the sky... for anything.
That smile might not have been because of me standing in the walkway there.
It might not have been a connecting, defining moment of comfort and ironically, clarity.

But for a minute, thatís how Iíd like to see this breathing, living memory; that the smile is because Iím the person standing there, paused on the walkway and waiting for him.

arizonasarah at 12:30 p.m.

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