Here we have a repeat of Week 4—that is, four zero word count days in a row.

Tuesday, May 17th:
After work I had just enough time to pack an overnight bag and run to the bus stop if I wanted to make dinner with my boyfriend and his friend by 7 o’clock. I ended up sitting on the sidewalk for twenty minutes waiting for my bus to show up. At 7:30 I hoisted myself up and over the railing of his balcony to be let inside. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that hungry since I’d inadvertently eaten chocolate-covered hazelnuts and cilantro in an Asian pasta dish set out for staff at lunch. Teacher Appreciation Week! Sometimes I eat things I’m allergic to knowing that I’m allergic, and for that, there’s Benadryl. This time I didn’t know. I thought I was biting into a piece of chocolate-covered fruit. And I thought the green flecks in the pasta were basil. Or parsley. Or some other green herb that doesn’t cause my mouth to itch and swell.) Luckily, my boyfriend and his friend were enthusiastic enough and drunk enough when I showed up to remedy my sour disposition. I had some catching up to do, and because I’d already resigned myself to not writing for the night, I drank past the point of productive drunkenness. So it goes.

Wednesday, May 18th:
I spent the entire day at work tired and haggard, which is what happens when you drink booze, sleep in your makeup, and then wake up early to figure out how to self-measure your bust, waist, hips, and hollow to hem so you can call a place about a bridesmaid dress on your lunch hour. I spent the morning trying not to fall asleep while feeding and diapering infants. Then, on my lunch hour I called the place about the dress and had a woman tell me that I’m between their size 2 and size 4 (when I’ve never worn bigger than a size 0 and haven’t grown since I was 14) and that I should go with the size 4. I agreed with some serious reservations, because, hey, she’s the expert. Then I took a twenty-minute nap on what reminds me of the couches in school nurse’s offices (except it’s teal instead of beige).

After work, I met up with a friend from freshman year of college and his girlfriend, also from our college. We went to a burger joint and then out for beers at the brewery located a convenient 450 feet from my apartment. They even briefly got to meet my boyfriend, who swung by to return the sunglasses I’d left at his apartment. My friend agreed that he doesn’t seem like a serial killer, which is the kind of reassurance I’m always looking for.

I set my alarm for 7, and fell asleep by 10. Praise be!

Thursday, May 19th:
I woke up tired still and delayed my alarm until the last possible minute. I decided I must be fighting something off—a cold or maybe even a plague*. I had just enough time to get dressed and make my bed but not enough time to do the dishes, which somehow managed to pile up even though I hadn’t cooked for days. And I had really wanted to do the dishes, not just because that’s what good adults do, but also because I needed to make something for the Teacher Appreciation party on Friday. Something = puppy chow. I didn’t bother trying to nap on my lunch hour. But I did have to return a phone call about the bridesmaid dress after getting a voicemail from a woman with a gut feeling that we should order me a size 2. Go figure. So after work, I dragged my laptop into the kitchen, played The Smith Street Band on Spotify, put on my green rubber gloves (because I cannot do dishes without them, especially dishes other people have touched), and then once I finished, pulled out my bag of ingredients, grabbed a Schilling grapefruit cider from the fridge, and got to work.

The boyfriend asked if he could stop over for a bit, and I said yes. (Duh.) He came bearing chocolates and affection. I didn’t want him to leave, so even though he said to kick him out at any time to relax or write, so I kept him until it was like 10 and neither of us had had dinner and were kind of lightheaded and famished.

So I didn’t write, but I did compose a text about the perfection of avocados.

Friday, May 20th:
I woke up a little early and I didn’t write so much as I rearranged a few words and adjusted some phrases before work—nothing that affected word count much. Then I spent the day with toddlers instead of infants. The main difference between toddlers and infants is that toddlers are heavier, faster, louder, and more defiant. By lunchtime my energy was spent. I wasn’t hungry. I couldn’t fall asleep. I still had half a day to go.

Sometimes it’s difficult to discern mental exhaustion from physical sickness. Could have been either/or. Or both/and. It is an adjustment—being an introvert with such a social job. It’s a balancing act. I’m still figuring it out.

At 6, I pawned my puppy chow off on a coworker and told her, “I meant to go to the party tonight, and I made this, but I’m not going. I’m going home. I’m going to bed. But I think that you should take this and that people should have it.”

I caught my bus home and collapsed on my bed still wearing my coat, one backpack strap still slung over my shoulder, and aggressively cuddled with my cat. (He honestly deserves to be registered as an emotional support animal.) After a while, I changed into pajamas, made chamomile tea and crawled into bed with a mug of it and my laptop. I put Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, had myself a good cry, and thought about how funny it is that my old, comfortable show is set in a fictitious version of my city that’s always falling apart: sinkholes and plane crashes and tunnel collapses.

Guess it isn’t just me.

*This is being published on Tuesday instead of Monday because it turns out I was coming down with some sort of plague.


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