Today was a ridiculous cliche, couldn't look out the window or listen to the sounds of the day without feeling like I was stuck in the middle of an old-school country song. If my mom had gotten thrown in prison, I believe the day would have come full circle.
I had woken up with a bad headache, feeling a bit sickly with a stuffy nose and that washed out lethargy that often precedes a cold. The little bit of sunshine we had around here disappeared before the morning was half over. The sky turned the color of a old ash pail. My house turned chill and grey. Admittedly, part of that is due to my stubbornness at not cranking the heat so as to enable making it through winter on only one tankful of heating oil. Even with an undershirt, a shirt and sweater, jeans and socks, it was still cold. A dampish, steely feeling that worked itself into my bones.
The rain that had been predicted for later in the afternoon started before noon, something I did not pick up on until I finally snapped out of the fog I was in, staring out the window at my neighbor's house. The little dots I was seeing? Hey, those are raindrops! Yeah, I'm observant like that.
The morning was full of sighs and ennui, Internet time wasting, and some half-hearted soul searching. I listened to the rain, drummed my fingers on the table. I went off the rails a bit, not really sure of what to do next, what obstacles I should try to remove. It then hit me hard: it was now just over three months since I was let go from my job. Three. Months. And no prospects, yet, for a new one.
Three. Goddamn. Months.
I put my head in my head in my hands to keep it from hitting the table. That was when I began to hear the faint strains of a mournful steel guitar in the back of my mind. I chuckled, a bitter laugh, when I thought about the fact that I don't have a dog, either. So I could say it was missing.
To ice that particular cake, as I sat there writing the country soundtrack to my life, I heard from across the river valley the plaintive sound of (you guessed it) a train horn. "Really?" I said to myself, looking up at the ceiling, "I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself, and there's a frickin' TRAIN out there?"
It was at that point I had to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Here I was feeling ill on a cold, rainy day, lonely and jobless and without a dog or a truck, listening to the train fade away in the distance. If Hank Williams or Johnny Cash had come on the radio about then, I probably would have wet myself.
As it was, though, I sat there and quietly stepped away from the edge of the darkness, smiling and thankful that my mom was at home and not in prison.