It’s not quite dark yet, but the sky is trending from azure to indigo. The breeze has already picked up a mild chill. As I pass the front door, the sensor on the porchlight clicks open a pool of illumination. This day has worn me out, not from anything traumatic, just basic interaction with the world. My eyes are scratchy and tired as I drop purse and keys onto the dining room table.
Much like Ripley, once she had safely escaped the hostile Alien (or so she thought), I gotta shed my work duds. Walking into the bedroom, I reach behind, up to the middle of my back, to unclasp the support garment. Pulling one strap at a time out each blouse sleeve, then grabbing the thing from under my shirt, I fling it across the bed. All at once I am unbound. Rapturous joy of sweet freedom floods my veins.
Words can transport you to many places, moods, situations, but they fail to convey the singular bliss of taking your bra off at the end of a long day.
With the chaos of, well everything, it’s important to acknowledge and cherish the little things that bring the sweetness.
It is tough to feel joy right now. The world is, literally, on fire. I know it’s not just me. Every time I mention the difficulty of attaining super-sized happiness, I get nods and even an occasional “AMEN” from other people. What’s paradoxical is that knowing other people share your misery does ease it a little. I’m here to tell you, your problems are valid and you are not alone.
It’s hard. Everywhere, shit is hard. Writing is hard. Making ends meet is hard. Getting a doctor to believe your pain is hard. Finding an affordable place to live is hard. Keeping your kids safe is hard. Getting your hair cut exactly the way you want it is hard. I understand that I’m writing about this from a place of some inherent privilege. I understand that I’m so fortunate to have mostly healed from my medical issues. I’m lucky to have food, clean water, and a bed for my cat to hog.
So I focus on things like the agreement I have with that cat to exchange warmth at night. He keeps my shoulder warm and I keep his butt warm. I really wish it was his head, but I believe in compromise so here we are.
It’s a little thing and it makes me happy. (The cat himself, not necessarily his butt). And that’s another thing I have in common with Ripley, a feline ginger jerk who will compromise my safety, but I love him.
The chase of euphoria has always intimidated me. I thought it was a BIG THING, tough to attain, that had to be all at once or not at all. I believed, or I’ve been shown by media, that only the brave, the rich, the lucky get to be ecstatic. In order to hit that peak, you have to jump out of a plane, climb an iceberg (one of the four remaining icebergs), headline a concert, or come back to Kellerman’s for the final dance and pull Baby out of the corner to finally get the lift right!
But I’m starting to figure out that maybe I’m in the company of others who bask in quieter, less cinematic joys; like feeling the first cool drops of rain on your face after a few years of drought and two major fires, like having your partner home from the hospital and snoring next to you in bed with a cat curled up on *his* pillow for a change, like waking up at 5 a.m. to wrap up in blankets so you can go outside to Spot The Station and *actually* seeing it, like seeing the plate of food you left out for the fae folk empty in the morning and knowing you’re protected, like getting a story accepted to a dream publication, like dancing like a doofus with a friend when “1999” comes over the speakers at the grocery store, like the scent of garlic and onions warming to translucence in olive oil on the stovetop, like taking a shelter dog out for a hike to get a break from his cage, like when a new podcast drops, like checking your phone pix and seeing the outline of an olde timey lady who definitely wasn’t with your tour group of The Winchester House, like when your cat chooses to sit on your lap and you both just stay like that for awhile, like having your caregiver read you a book, like when your 4th attempt at sourdough bread actually comes out perfectly, like when the Autumn sun is so warm but the Eastern breeze is so cool and it carries the scent of fading roses as it guides rusting leaves down from trees to crunch under your feet. Stuff like that.
I got a little carried away in those moments because, when I’m in them, I am carried away from the tough shit. Just for a few seconds, I can find the little joys. Those small pieces of euphoria are the ones that make up a life.
Now I’m going to sit on my couch in my baggy clothes, unbound and tits akimbo, and settle into the quiet euphoric moment of the gravelly rumble of the cat’s purr.
Photo by Felix Kayser on Unsplash
Amy Henry Robinson Owner/Senior Editor, Poetry Editor, and Webmaster
Amy has a chequered past leading writing workshops for Writing Pad L.A. & Write In Ventura, and as the column editor for FierceAndNerdy.com. Her poetry & spec. fiction has been in Strange Horizons, Pearl Magazine, & Flash Fiction Press. She lives in a small house beside the ocean with her husband. Amy can be found on Twitter being weird, and mocking her cats, at @Amyqotwf