Calls for a nightcap, among other remedies. Unable to sleep last night, I was tossing and turning as the branches on the tree outside my window were thrashing and crashing. Now is that unfortunate time of year between Christmas and spring known as the dead of winter. As my coworker joyously reminded me today, the stretch between New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day is notoriously the most depressing time of year. Rain, snow, wind, storms, and winter’s chill confine everyone inside to ponder late credit card bills, lack of gym-going gusto, and the mistakes and pitfalls of the previous year (that are probably related to this year’s Valentine’s Day plans in some way or another). The general mood at this time of year is the color of an impish, defeated grey. Not a grey in the grey that is the new black kind of way. The sad white T-shirt that’s seen better days kind of grey. An undecided, dirty sweatpants, faded, lack-luster grey, grey. But before I reached for a latenight gin and tonic (the true hallmark of a slightly depressed and extremely stir-crazy insomniac) I considered autumn.
The fall is my favorite season and, unlike the greyish hue that comes to mind when I think of this post-Christmas, pre-Easter slump of a season, the fall reminds me of change, of promise, and of light. The days start to get shorter but the moments of sunshine that we do experience in the late autumn have a golden, glowing tinge. Everything is bright and crisp.
On an especially lovely fall day this year, I was sitting outside a cafe and I felt the warmth of the late-afternoon sun on my back, but a cool breeze in the air. I was eating bourbon-flavored ice cream and could not seem to wipe a smile off my face. My bright red fingernails were anxiously tapping the cafe table and I was staring at my iPhone, begging it to light up with a message. And not just any message. I was waiting for someone in particular. But I was not unhappy in my uncertainty, I was excited. Excited about what would or could happen if and when my phone finally decided to release me from the misery that is this time. That awful stretch between the meet-cute (to borrow a cinematic term) and the first phone call. Sweetest agony there is. And not unlike this time of year, actually. It is a little brutal, an uphill battle all the way. Just one more hour, just one more day. Time goes especially slowly when you don’t want it to, and way too fast when you wish it would slow down. But it will pass, nonetheless, and then what comes next will happen. He did eventually call, like I knew he would, and the winter will eventually be over because it always is.
October 13, 2011. What a day: no words but songs, no sleep but dreams. Happy but neurotic as ever, unable to sleep but dreaming in color. And with that trip down memory lane, goodnight.