Do-Over, Please


Today was not a good day.

I didn’t feel very good mentally or physically.  I looked even worse than I felt.  At least that’s what the mirror told me.  I looked dull and flat.  My hair wasn’t shiny.  My eyes weren’t bright.  I hadn’t slept well, so I had no energy.  I had trouble catching a deep breath.  Who cares?  No one around me EVER seems to notice a difference in me from one day to the next.

I was late for work.  Nothing new about that.  No one cares about that, either.  I work late.  I work at home.  I work all the time.  When I get there doesn’t matter to anyone, but it DOES matter to me.  I expect everyone else to be on time.  I grabbed my coffee cup and headed down to the conference room to pour a cup of coffee.  There was a meeting going on, and I didn’t want to interrupt.  I could have, but I didn’t feel like making small talk.  I didn’t feel like greeting anyone.  I wanted coffee, and I wanted to be left alone.  I wandered back down the hall to my office with an empty cup.

I attempted to tackle the hundreds of emails in my inbox, and more just kept coming in.  I flipped back and forth between the old emails and the new ones.  The new emails were stressing me out.  One thing after another needed my attention.  Why?  Why am I the one with the answers?  Why am I the one who has to take care of all the final decisions?  Don’t these people know what a mess I am?  I am barely able to function normally.  Yet…as I said, no one seems to notice that fact.

I had an appointment with a developer at 11:00.  He was giving me a tour of his rehab project.  Normally, I would love that kind of thing, but I really wasn’t looking forward to the meeting.  I would have to talk to him.  I couldn’t just sit behind my desk and plug away without any face to face communication.  I would have to interact with someone.  Yuck.  I dreaded leaving the office.

The old building,  metal doors with ornate latches, winding staircases, antiques hidden under the protection of  tarps; all of those things lifted my spirits.  There was that musty smell that I love.  That smell is potential and history all mixed together.  My cloud lifted as we wandered from floor to floor.  Sunlight streamed through the windows, and dust danced in the air.  Disintegrated carpet mixed with bird feathers revealed large pieces of what would surely be a beautifully restored floor.  Tall ceilings and beautiful moulding restored my hope in good and solid things in this world.  As we poured over his blueprints and spoke of his plans for an accurate historic restoration of this blighted property, I remembered for a moment why I once loved my job.  I wish that I could have spent all day poking around that old building, but that wasn’t why I was there.  I had the information that I needed, and too soon it was time to leave.

Once I was back in my car, I sat for a moment and decided what to do.  Did I want to return to the office?  It was close to lunchtime.  Shoes!  I would go shoe shopping during lunch, and I headed to the mall.  As I was driving, T called.  Did I want to meet for lunch?  No, I didn’t, but couldn’t say that to him.  What I really wanted was to be alone.  I told him that I was headed to the mall, and he said that he’d meet me in 10 minutes.  Damn.

Our lunch did not go well, and it was mostly my fault.  I was quiet, and he attempted to fill in the blanks with conversation.  Unfortunately, everything he brought up to talk about had an element of stress attached to it; the kids, my mom, the progress of work on my parents’ home, my upcoming trip later this week.  I could feel myself shutting down more and more.  Once again, I couldn’t catch my breath.

The trip.  Later this week, I’m am travelling alone to a place I don’t even want to go.  T simply reiterated what I was already feeling.  It will be a long, lonely trip.  Do I know very many people that will be going?  No, I don’t know who will be there.  Is anyone staying at the same hotel as me?  I have no idea.  Then, of course, he had to express how much he hated it when I traveled alone.  I reminded him that I HAD to go.  It’s my job.  I have no choice.  He told me that I needed to take some time off work.  Yeah, I know.  Why don’t you?  Because I don’t have time.  Why does everyone else get to take time off work?  Because they don’t have my job.  Blah, blah, blah….

I didn’t get any shopping done.  I didn’t get that perfect pair of black sandals that I had imagined.  Instead, I was nagged.  I was stressed out.  While my cloud had been lifting a while earlier, I was once again shrouded.  As we left the restaurant, I informed him that I wouldn’t be having lunch with him for the rest of the week.  I told him that I needed some space.  He looked hurt, and I felt bad.

How do you tell a good person, a person that you’ve been married to for 27 years, a person that has stood by you through all kinds of crap, that you need “space?”  Basically, I felt like shit for the rest of the day.  I don’t like being hurt by people, and I certain don’t like hurting anyone else.

It continued.  Believe it or not, but it continued.  T sent me texts all afternoon.  I had hired his company as a contractor, and he directed all of the questions to me.  He knows that the details of this arrangement are not my concern.  I hired them, but he knew that he should be directing those questions to staff.  Dammit.  He texted and called all afternoon.  I responded kindly (I hope,) but it about drove me insane.

LEAVE ME ALONE!  I simply want some time to be left alone to sort through all the damage and crap inside my head.  Why am I so necessary to the functions of so many people?  What if I died?  How in the hell would all of these things be managed if I were not around?  Can’t I get a break for just a little while?  I am exhausted.

Even now, T is pacing.  He wants me to go on a walk with him.  As I write, I have been interrupted countless times.  I have made dinner, eaten dinner, cleaned the kitchen, listened to kids tell me about their days, listened to the plot of two movies, heard about how much so and so makes to babysit when all she does is sit by the pool at the countryclub.  (I hate that word!)

I am grouchy and discouraged.  I feel ugly and yucky.  I’ve decided to go with the whole UGLY thing tonight.  I have put on my ugliest t-shirt (with a bull dog on the front) and a pair of running shorts.  I look like hell, and strangely, cultivating that ugly look tonight has  made me feel better.

Now I’ll go for a Power Walk with T.  My precious  little town might work it’s charm on me.  Maybe I’ll come back remembering who I am, or who I once used to be, or maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of who I will become.