After a boring and unnecessarily long day at work, I came home with the intention of getting some good work done. By good work, I mean get through a few chapters of The Marriage Plot. I’ve been reading that book since November. Every time I pick it up, it flies by. It’s the sort of book I want to savor. I’ve restarted the book three times now, just to make sure I remember everything that happened previously. I did the same thing with The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex. I know it’s redudant, but I’ll say it anyway: I really like Jeffrey Eugenides novels. Anyway, before reading, I wanted to get something written in my journal.
I did what I used to – I flung off my shoes and cardigan and lay stomach-down across my bed with my journal and pen. My bed used to be a creative hotspot. When I was growing up, that was what I did: I just came home and wrote for hours on my bed, taking breaks for dinner and violin practice. It was a sanctuary. When I got to college, that all changed. My bed was used for sleeping and the occasional makeout session. The few times I did write there, it felt like a novelty – a sort of quaint encore performance.
Today, after twenty minutes of writing, I got melancholic and nostalgic for better days. I got all teary eyed and felt incredibly lonely. I was about to curl up into a ball for maximum sobbing potential when I heard a key in the door and Carissa walk in.
“Ashley, did you put this package outside our door?” She called.
I pulled myself up and wiped my face. I met her in the living room. “What?”
“Oh – to Miss Ashley E. Otto!” She said, handing me the package. “Oooh, are you okay? What’s going on?”
“I’m just feeling lonely and sorry for myself,” I said.
I sat on the couch to open it up. There were about four layers of tape and I decided to not use a knife. I was in one of those modes that made everything more difficult. I could be more sullen and exasperated if everything was cumbersome.
It was from Joelle, a girl I had met my freshman year. She was my mentor for a single credit one-on -one writing seminar. She was the first person to give me valuable feedback and ideas for revising my writing. We sort of fell out of touch over the years, but I followed her blog when she traveled to Poland and she followed my life via facebook pictures. Every once in a while we would exchange a few messages, but nothing very intimate.
A few months ago, when Bill and I broke up, she asked if she could send me a care package – one without wine or chocolate even though that was probably all I wanted, it wasn’t what I needed. Of course I accepted. Her life must have gotten busy because she wasn’t able to send it until now. But it was the absolute perfect thing for me to see tonight.
It contained Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, a small box of truffles (chocolates ftw!), a journal, novelty gum, and flower pin. I read through the Silverstein book and promptly had a very cathartic cry. It was fantastic.
You know. I’ve said before that I don’t believe in a god, but beautiful coincidences like this make me think twice. Sometimes it’s comforting to believe that there’s some big orchestration I don’t understand yet. My logic overcomes my whimsical side. Circumstances on Joelle’s end prevented her from sending it till now (according to her card, the package saw three living rooms before reaching mine). I created my own perfect storm by recovering from last week’s bout of extroversion (I was occupied every night other than Thursday) by working overtime and spending the last five evenings with books and a box of old journals, but it all culminated to a single moment in which I was reminded I was not alone and people still do wonderful things for each other.