She gets off the train and swiftly tucks her gloveless hands in her coat pockets; jamming her right thumb into the clumped up earphone cords connected to her phone that is, also, jammed in her pocket. She walks briskly to the traffic light and waits with head bowed for the light to favour her crossing. Five minutes after she has crossed the slushy mess of a road, she is letting herself into a warm lobby with a fob that is part of the tangled mess of that same right coat pocket. She briefly debates checking her mailbox but doesn’t do it. She, more pressingly, needs to pee. She takes the elevator up to her floor and walks – trots- to her door. She pauses for the briefest of beats outside her door and swings her tote off her shoulder. She lets it hang at her side as she opens the door – it will discourage the cat from dashing outside when she opens the door wide enough to walk in. He is sitting by the door as expected, he is shooed back by the bag he has not yet come to expect after six months of the same… Cats are not known to be exceptionally bright. She closes the door and does a pee-jig by it as she hangs up her coat. It has become more like a pee-shimmy by the time she kicks off her boots and walks sideways to the bathroom. She pees – relief. The cat winds his way around her legs. She wishes that he wouldn’t. He rubs himself on her tights. She tells him to go away. He seems to listen and settles just outside the door. She needs a shower and some dinner – in that order. The shower is warm and necessary. The cat sits just behind the shower curtain and jumps back when she is done and moves the curtains out of the way. She puts some music on and sashays as she lotions. She throws on something comfy then passes through a body spray mist she has created on her way out the bathroom door. She decides a quick stir fry will do and gets out a chopping board. The cat trails her to the kitchen, meowing now in hopes of a cat treat. She picks out a knife to chop some onions, the cat lays it’s upright tail lazily on her legs. She squats, plants her vegetable knife deep in the thorax of the cat in one swift motion, then walks back to the bathroom for another shower.
The alchemist turned to the boy. ” This is for you. To make up for what you gave to the general.”
The boy was about to say that it was much more than he had given the general. But he kept quiet, because he had heard what the alchemist said to the monk.
“And this is for me,” said the alchemist, keeping one of the parts. ” Because I have to return to the desert, where there are tribal wars.”
He took the fourth part and handed it to the monk. “This is for the boy. If he ever needs it.”
“But I’m going in search of my treasure,” the boy said. I’m very close to it now.”
“And I’m certain you’ll find it,” the alchemist said.
“Then why this?”
“Because you have already lost your savings twice. Once to the thief, and once to the general. I’m an old, superstitious Arab, and I believe in our proverbs. There’s one that says , “Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”” They mounted their horses…
– The Alchemist
Sun- Too much sun. But that’s only my opinion from behind the safety of my glass sliding door. My iPhone says it’s 36 degrees on the other side of the transparent barrier boxing me in my warm 620 sq foot cocoon so definitely not appropriate weather for the blue bum shorts and orange cami I have on. I wage a little war in my head between closing the blinds that are casting black and yellow ochre stripes down my slender frame or leaving them open so my whole parlour looks ready for the early stages of a Hitchcock movie. The sunshine wins… Obviously. I don’t even know why I bother with this ritual every Saturday. I adore the light once my eyes adjust and it stops blinding me. Besides, Saturday’s are the only days of the week that I get to fully bask in the sun’s humbling ambiance. “Humbling ambiance” – hmm, I like that phrase…
I spend my whole life with words and phrases. I work a 6-7 job that keeps me on my butt in a dingy room pre-editing articles for the biggest daily self-help editorial east of Wyoming. And west of Iowa. Okay, okay, it’s the biggest editorial in Nebraska. But, when I talk to people about my job, I usually leave out the west of Iowa part. I also stop at the “daily”, since saying more usually loses me “cool” points. The fewer specifics, the better. Anything to give my self confidence a boost since I have no real friends for a 400 mile radius and I have had no real life in a two-year span. This lovely Saturday though, none of that matters. It’s a beautiful day outside AND I’m going skiing. I am also fully aware that I live in Nebraska without a plateau in sight. But I’m making the solitary drive down to Jackson, Wyoming. I’ll drive down, glide on some of that beautiful pow, spend the night in a not-so-reliable temporary establishment, catch a morning run or five, then head back home in the afternoon. I’m completely stoked. It’s been a minute since I did anything outdoors. Even longer since I took a solitary road trip. I can feel the greatness of this weekend in my bones! Or is that the crack in my sliding door sending shivers up my spine?
The drive up is going okay so far. I just hit Wyoming, its a little past noon, the windows are down, and… a bug definitely just flew unto my dashboard. Whyyyy? I start frantically swatting at it with Khloe Kardashian’s boobs, which are plastered on last month’s issue of Cosmo. Two minutes ago, I had HAIM crooning from the stereo and I felt like I was in a movie about my life (picture “Thelma and Louis, but solo). Ugh, I hate bugs. Plus, this fairytale solo trip is about to go sour faster than milk left out in the sun if I run out of my water crackers nearly four hours away from my destination. Crap, there’s only four left in the box and I definitely left the other box on the kitchen counter. Perfect. Now all I need is an engine stall or a repeat performance of my food poisoning debacle from yesterday and then I can write this off as the worst day ever. I’m beginning to feel like I should probably have waited till next weekend to go skiing but that feeling is a bit late to the party. Roughly 200 miles to go but for the life of me, I cant remember now why I decided against a trip to Colorado instead…
I made it to Jackson! I’m not even stopping at the hotel first. I’m just going to drive straight to the resort and catch as many runs as possible before I pass out on a bed tonight. The parking lot at the base of the slopes is suffering a bit of human scarcity but I jump out to put on my ski gear, anyway. The fewer the people, the fresher the pow… Holy Mother of God! It’s definitely way colder than my iPhone said it was going to be when I checked the temperature yesterday. What is happening here?! That gust of wind nearly pinched the half of my nose with my nose ring in it clean off. Anyway, I’m here now and half way into my ski boots. I can’t possibly turn back around like a complete wimp. Besides once I’m fully decked out, the cold won’t matter. I buy my half day’s pass from a surly brunette called Carly and catch the chair lift up. Now this is what I’m talking about! This view is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, but it doesn’t look like there’s been a snowfall in at least a couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll only do three runs instead of seven and call it an early night.
Okay, that first run was a bit choppy but that’s why I’ve got sloppy seconds! And if the second time is rough, well, that’s why the saying says the third time’s the charm. My lift descent this time is flawless and ooooh, I’m gathering some steam. Okay, this sloppy second isn’t so sloppy after all. Wait, is that a patch of ice ahead that I see? Better dodge th… Shit.
All the wind was definitely knocked out of my brain. It literally took a full minute for it to reboot and process. I guess my ribs feel like these mountains just used them as punching bags as well. But I seem fine otherwise. Nothing broken or twisted as I twist around to check my derriere. I’m only a little soaked and embarrassed, thank heavens. I don’t even want to think about how bad that could have been.
My tummy feels sore now that I’m up and trying to glide down slowly. My poor stomach lining was probably not prepared for a double attack in a two day span – food poisoning then a “soft” tumble down the slopes. Yea. Probably not.
Ok. I’m almost at base but what seemed like a tiny ache on the left side of my tummy a minute ago is absolutely excruciating now. I might as well slide to a halt and see if there’s a tiny branch sticking out of my gut or something. I lift all five of my layers. A quick peek and I’ll determine if a good back stretch or some pepto bismol will fix me right up. Is it normal that my skin is this tender? I know I just shook it up but I can’t touch it and it looks like its swelling. Ok, maybe that fall could have shaken the spleen off my mother but… Oh God, what if my sple…