The kettle is on the stove, and before the sun has even peered out from behind the clouds, I am embracing a warming mug of hot water. No fragrant tea leaves swirling in the midst, no rich coffee grounds permeating the atmosphere. My Chinese body yearns for hot water only at the rise of each new morning.
I never wake with grace, but stumble and grumble until I have that cup of hot water in my hands. My muscles are woven together with worries and tensions from yesterday and days before, so I settle on the floor and gently tug their strings and tell them to give the day a chance.
It’s a new day after all, with shiny thoughts waiting under rugs to be uncovered, and crisp dreams planning their most exuberant grand entrances.
My rigid bones and taut muscles slowly give in to my gentle pushes and pulls, but they know better than to give it all away so soon. They share and smile only a smidge each day, but I will take hold of it anyhow and say, “Thank you very much,” because a little is always better than none.
Perhaps it is what happens next that has them steeped with skepticism. My limbs are prodded into place as I begin a pilates routine that will most likely torture every fiber of my being, but I do it anyway despite the protests. My shoulders cry out in unmentionable pain, my whole center shudders with terror, and my thighs threaten to disown me. It ends sooner than it begins, and even they nod with approval at the thin veins of strength now coursing through their stuttering selves.
While my muscles and bones are busily congratulating themselves, I make my way to the rabbit hole that no one knows about and step through to the other side. I float down endless, bright hallways, passing by doors that open to inspiration and creativity, and escape through the door that beckons to me most. Paint! Sketch! Write! – whatever my heart so wishes to do that day, and I follow her because she speaks loudly and gently, and always seems to make sense in all the best ways.
These mornings are laced with perfection and secrecy, and though the clock ticks unbearable and quick during these few hours, I pretend time has stepped out for a cup of coffee. She will be back with a forgotten croissant crumb on her cheek, and I will turn my paint brushes over to her – the one time I ignore my heart’s dissents – and withdraw from my rabbit hole to a rigid day whose muscles are squeaky with worries and tensions from an absence of oiling.
But for now…this moment is all there is and tomorrow will come too soon.
Inspired by the weekly creative prompt from ArtStew52