It's Friday morning and I'm finally starting to get used to the fact that this is no longer a time when I am working. I recently changed my work schedule to better fit the needs of a changing business and to spend more one-on-one time with my employees and what I'm finding is that this change also comes with other ancillary benefits too. I've now got three days during the week in which I have the option of catching a little extra sleep; windows open so the birds can keep the cat entertained. I've also got the option to wake up early so I can spend some time inside of my own head, while the chahai's smoke signal pushes past every inch of this screen, always reminding me that I've just poured a hot cup and it's begging to be consumed. Mystery samples taunt me; bags long since forgotten about hold teasures, like soldiers without a tag, wanting nothing more than a proper ceremony before being given back to the earth.
Grace sleeps in her own bed most nights, but right now, is curled up in mine. Perhaps the smells she associates with my hair and skin when I hold her and tell her everything will be okay carried her through the night. She's having a tough time right now because her mother is moving to a new home and for the first time, she's old enough to understand some of what that means. Her house is about to become a little quieter, and she's about to lose the companionship of another child close to her in age. They've been all over town looking at places, and from the way I've seen her pick up on my state of being, I'm sure Grace is just as frazzled as her mother right now. I put her in her time-out chair last night because she was kicking and hitting, and when I asked her if she understood why we can't hit people, she lost it; collapsing into my arms, she cried until she fell asleep. A mere child in size, but overrun with emotion and feeling enough for twenty-five adults. She's a faucet at full-stream. She's frustrated, and that's okay. Her mother and I have agreed to be very close these next couple weeks to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible for our child.
There is a woman who lives upstairs from me and she comes out and talks to me whenever I do laundry. Our children play together, and as we laugh at the way two young minds turn whatever they can find into magic wands capable of dog-whistling fantastic people into existence right before us that only children can see. I can pretend I see them too, but I think Grace knows I don't entirely see through the eyes of a child anymore. She knows the weathered look that hangs just below my pupils on days when I have to spend a couple of hours dealing with shoplifters who are so young, threatening to come back up to the store and shoot us down. The most recent two were having a conversation while detained about how pissed they were that they were going to have to go back to Wayne County Jail because they didn't like the food they would be fed while they were there. 18 and 20 years old and they know what's on the menu at local jails. My heart goes out to them and as much as I would love to give them my silver and send them down another path, I've yet to meet Jean Valjean. One of them even had a picture of a child on his phone, saying it was his own...that he had to steal to take care of her. He told a story about how scared he was of his girlfriend and losing his child, so he sits quietly while she beds other men right next door to him...all of it, lies. It hardens a person. I remind myself every time that when someone steals from the company that puts food on my table, they steal from my daughter's pockets; from her future. It wears on me.
My senses, dulled to the dissatisfaction of the same things in and out. Warmer weather is coming and I felt very alive just kicking around a soccer ball at the park on Wednesday. Two and a half hours in the sun, my arms no longer transparent from the long winter now behind us. I need more of that in my life, and less bottles littering my kitchen table come morning.
This tea is winding down and so is this post. I still haven't been able to identify it as anything other than shu, at least four years aged, stored dry. Decent cha-qi has me feeling clear, lifted, and optimistic that today will be bright, regardless of the looming clouds sitting just outside my window. The dryness in my throat; this unknown soldier has been good to me. Mellow and sweet, with a touch of tingly camphor, it sat patiently as my fingers re-acclimated themselves with a keyboard. I rather enjoy not always knowing what I'm drinking. This tea was a gift, from a friend as well as a gift from the earth. These leaves should be given back. They've spent enough time inside of a plastic bag. Perhaps I can find a garden in need of some compost.