Passing Notes

“Sitting in large, overcrowded rooms gives me the willies.”

“My palms sweat.”

“My head screams.”

“My body twitches.”

“It’s like a switch set off by revolving doors, aggravated by bodies in close proximity.”

“I lurch through the metal detector and take a seat, careful to place myself near an exit in case panic takes hold.”

“Like an overstuffed turkey about to explode its insides all over the oven. ”

“In my hand I hold a tan envelope with black scrolling. ”

“I sit.”

“I wait.”

“A minute passes like an hour and after two years my name is called.”

“I am herded into another room, with fewer chairs and row upon row of cubicles. Here they take my papers, process them, and shuffle me back out to the big room.”

“I wait some more.”

“I am herded through another set of doors, another metal detector, and into a small, private office.”

“The lady behind the desk smiles, tells me what I hoped to hear, and sends me on my way.”

“Two hours for ten minutes face-to-face time, and in that much time I’m back on the road, heading home.”

“My nerves are still in knots as I sit here pecking at the keyboard.”

“I’ve had a headache for hours and my ear drums threaten to rupture if the noise level rises above silence.”

“They call it social anxiety.”

“I call it cruel.”

“Unusual.”

“Punishment.”

 

Rub. Burn. Sting. Scratch. Claw. Wipe. Tears. Drops. Trying not to stare at the computer screen, forcing myself to watch my fingers as they do the lambada on the keyboard in front of me. Eyeballs ablaze. Hours spent in front of computer or phone screens, researching, editing, writing, working. I thought this was spring break? Each muscle fatigued, weary from long nights and early mornings. I long to curl between Egyptian Cotton, blue as the sky, and fade into the black abyss covering my bed, my shrine. For days I could stay wrapped in sweet slumber, catching up on deferred dreams. Oh, for the calm serenity of yesterday instead of the mountain of to-dos pestering me. But alas, these blue irises can take no more, so I gather the piles of my half-outlined essay and stack them up on top of the printer for another day’s list, fold back the covers, kick off my shoes, remove the glasses, and hit send: “Goodnight friends, may this little note into the world find you peaceful and content. Wherever you are, you are loved and never alone.”

 

Passing Notes © 2011 Sarah Scott. Look for more Sarah’s stories and observations in upcoming posts—click on her tag.

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