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Eyes Cast Downward- Memoir Excerpt

Originally hand written in July 2015 Late Spring of 2014.  Just Months before liver failure Our eyes are nearly always cast dow...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Life is what happens? - Memento as prose

John Lennon had said "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
I say that life is what happens to you while you are doomed in battle and you refuse to yield.

This is why.

 Walking out the door this afternoon and feeling the wind whirling around me was incredible. Hearing the crinkle of my boots as they impede upon the fresh yielding snow.  I steady myself as I slowly decline down the front steps. I keep indoors when I want to, but I do not want to today. 
 I want to brave the storm to go out and see who else is about 'that life'. My plan, though a loose one, was to pick up my Chobani Greek yogurt and granola bar from the Mulberry drugstore around the corner. Then to go a block west to the Broadway Starbucks and redeem my 12 star reward and write for a few hours. I't sounded pretty damn good, my loose little plan. 
I was a barista for Starbucks for two different locations and I still adore them.  I must say that the star reward system they use is marketing genius. I'm on the Gold Level status, which earns me a sparkly golden card bearing my first and last name on the bottom, free refills on coffee and tea, special offers via email and obviously a free drink on my birthday. I could already taste the Green tea latte and see myself at the corner seat, my fingers darting across the keyboard rapid fire. I managed to purchase my yogurt and granola lunch with a the friendly cashier who had the misfortune of working today.
 I smiled and decided "Yes. Today will be lovely."
 Despite all the clamor and nervousness surrounding the storm. 
Then came my own tumult of the mental variety. 
It came to me in a guileful manner, like grey clouds coming together slowly...
"What the hell is all the fuss about? I endured several winters prior all over the East Village. I slept among rows of comrades in weather such as this and worse. It was only a little over a year ago under the scaffolding right there by Great Jones Street.  We bundled up in a zero degree sleeping bags with a warm pit bull and a "C'est la Vie" attitude." 
 Stop. No Mary Catherine. That was on a good day. I remind myself that those "C'est la vie" days were few and far between. I try and push the thought out. It is replaced with a shout of bewildered astonishment "How the fuck did I do that, and for so long!?" No. I think I would rather not. I like that I don't wake up  shaking violently, heart pounding and retching bile at four or five in the morning. Barely making it out of the god damn sleeping bag before the poison poured out of my mouth onto the sidewalk. There you go, that's more like it sweetheart. Don't even try and make shit cute. Don't fucking fool yourself. If you insist on reminiscing make sure you "Keep it one hundred."  
Strange the way I can romanticize the lifestyle that way, so suddenly, so creatively tactful, those damn whispers. I have to keep that ghost in check.. That's what I thinking about in between snapping photographs of the snow covered vicinity of NoHo. It's rarely silent inside my mind. 
That is why I love meditation. I can pull the thread back into alignment.

 I trudged through what was already about five inches of snow and walked into Starbucks about a quarter after one. I set up my lap top on the only table that was near an outlet, not ideal but it was going to have to work.
I grabbed my Gold card out of my wallet and ordered my latest favorite in a larger size with a non dairy version since it's free no matter how expensive the modification, I take full advantage of that. "Venti- Soy- five scoop Matcha- Green Tea Latte and I would like to redeem my free drink reward". 
I still remember the way we had to call the drinks out. That is one of the reasons I loved working for Starbucks. Every single thing we did was strategic, from the way we worded things, to the arrangement of the furniture, the lighting to calling out of the customers name. It was all a part of a masterful plan to keep them feeling as if they were in a home away from home, a work space outside of the office, always welcoming. I think I have a peculiar post partner loyalty. I allowed it to work on me. I think I even remember my partner numbers 1405903, I think that may be it. Man, they are good and I am a willing participant of this scheming establishment. It is no coincidence that the logo bears the legendary siren. This siren calls to my wallet and I dutifully hand over the card. I also never allow the balance to reach zero despite my impoverished state. 
Which I admit is a little insane, but not over the top bat shit crazy. 
After I sit down, I pull up my goal list and go over the week. I open up Microsoft word and stretch my neck and roll my shoulders. I pick up my drink and put my lips to the lid and blow. As I do this a gregarious and flamboyant partner is coming towards me, he stops at the girl at the table next to me and I see he is talking but I cant hear him, I'm still listening to Bowie. It has become an unintentional ritual since January tenth. I pull out my ear buds and hear him say that all Starbucks in the city must close by two pm and something about the mayor. I look at the time on my screen. 
Great. Twenty minutes. I think I began to pout. I tried to think of what I was going to do now. I thought, I will finish the novel I'm reading, or at least put a dent in it. I'll clean out all my drawers and organize everything so I am more prepared when my move out date arrives. I could dye my hair, my blonde roots are starting to betray me again. I'll work on the short story I'm writing for my children, I'm about halfway through. I'll be okay. I do not like it when things suddenly do not go my way, I can feel my attitude beginning to sour. I wasted my free drink just to be asked to leave! I ordered the  Venti size and brought my lunch because I had planned on writing here inside Starbucks for at least two or three hours! I check my email. I read that the event I was invited to attend at the Tompkins Square Library today has been cancelled and she is sorry and we should get together soon. It has been rescheduled for the thirtieth. "Well no shit it's cancelled." As I check off the tiny box then click on the trash icon.I take a deep breath and check out the word of the day which is "Selenology" and I do not see it as a vital part of my lexicon, but then again you never know. I check what the weather predicts for tonight, maybe I could make it to West Houston later on this evening as I usually do. Nope, not going to happen. Blizzard winds at twenty five miles an hour and ninety eight percent precipitation. I'll be alright. I will be better then alright. 

I left ten minutes after two and I tried to think of nothing other then how beautiful the streets looked. 

So immaculate and pure, as if the sins the city streets and I once shared have been polished away. 
Then I remind myself what the street will look like when this too passes. 
 After the fresh snow is gone and the city wakes from it's slumber.
Filthy muck that taints every piece of you it touches. 
No, the sins remain dear girl. 
Never forget, lest you digress and that would be worse, far worse then your death.
I stopped resisting everything.  I smiled as I once again decided to just enjoy snow while it lasts.
I purposefully placed my boots down in the snow where there were no prints and watch them sink. 
I forgive you but you must never forget.

Mary Catherine, Cowardice Queen

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