Wednesday, March 29, 2017

60 Seconds to Zero

I measure my life in a minute. 60 seconds.

It's the time it takes for me to warm up the day-old coffee dregs in the carafe in the microwave. The time it takes for it to be drinkable. Hot but not too hot. The perfect complement to the early-morning snack on the laminate counters.

A minute doesn't seem that long. As we get ready for school, just one minute turns into five and we're soon hustling out the door trying to get in the drop-off line before traffic backs up on the street.

But in those early morning hours before I run, the 60 seconds seems to stretch. To drag. I can fill them with a trip to the bathroom or get dressed. I can put almond butter on a banana with such perfection and still tap my toe as I wait for the timer to tick down.

I watch the green digital numbers blip. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. And then there's a quick panic as I press stop. For that minute, it cannot end with a bell or a ding or any kind of alarm. Because it's that minute, the quiet minute, that lets me keep the sense of peace.

The idea.

The rouse.

Stopping that microwave allows me to continue on with that early-morning ritual quietly, in the shadow of the moonlight that comes in through the kitchen windows that desperately need covering. I can eat my snack, drink my coffee, read the news on my iPhone guilt-free. I can head out the door for a run - 6, 8, 10 miles these days - and believe that it is only me.

The family, sleeping above the ceiling, lays unaware. Of me. My effort to slip out the door. The open microwave door.

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