Every morning, suddenly, I am awake. My hair falls in my face as I sluggishly rise from my overly pillowed bed, the warmth leaking out from my nest as soon as my feet hit the cool wooden floor. My chest feels heavy and my eyes burn from sleep. Sometimes I have an alarm to turn off, and other days I’ve woken up on my own.
Some days, I brush my teeth and comb out my hair, styling it in the same fashion as any work day. Loose around my shoulders with a plaid or solid colored headband. I apply a brown, matte lipstick and apply just enough eye makeup to hide the bags under my eyes and make it seem as if I had a good night’s rest. My cardigans always matched my headband and my skirts always had biking shorts underneath. My socks were always white, or if I was feeling daring that day, patterned with some kind of cute animal. I have an image to keep, as any accountant would.
Other days I let my body flow freely, wearing just a loose tanktop and a pair of basketball shorts around my apartment. My tattoos are exposed and my hair goes wild and unbrushed for the sake of freedom. I might be drunk by noon, and I might stay sober until the sun goes down. If it’s a special occasion, I might even order in takeout and get high until I feel sideways and don’t know which way is up.
Between my days, there’s one thing that is always consistent. The shop around the corner from my apartment complex always calls to me at the same time each day. Thirty minutes before the coffee shop closes, I stop in, either in my perfect work attire or my messy loungewear, and I see her smile and wave to me, her smile perfect and her eyes crinkling just so.