I long to leave. Easily, quickly, with little to no preparation. To go from pajamas into jeans and an old friendly sweatshirt, my feet slipped into clogs or flip-flops, a quick brush through my hair—or not—a smoosh of clear gloss on my lips.

A satchel over one shoulder, with room to spare for what I may pick up or simply find along the way. My keys in my pocket, a basket in one hand, in case a farmers market floats by in my line of vision.

I long to leave with only ten minutes’ notice. Because I have decided I want an afternoon movie and one near my house starts in twenty-five minutes. Because a friend across town wants to have dinner together, or needs me to take her to the doctor or even, heaven help us, to the nearest emergency room. Because I can.

I long to leave. My bed, immediately upon waking, to jump—as they say, as I used to say—or to hop into the shower. Leave my bed, to turn on the kettle and brew a whole pot of tea, because I will drink it all while I do what many do in the morning, what I once could do—race around and get things done, a satisfying end in itself, all that doing.

I long to leave and travel light. No cane, for starters. No extra sweater or scarf for the inevitable fog coming over later in the day. So what if I’m cold? I’ll just move faster. Because I can. Or I’ll dash home—dash—and up the three flights and pick up what I need later. Quickly, happily, gratefully, maybe, but more than likely, not so mindfully. Simply because I can. Because I am able.

I long to leave it until later because I know I’ll have the energy to do it—all the its—not because I’m waiting for the possible arrival of an extra burst.

I long to leave behind the necessary premeditation. To lay aside the near-constant anxiety that precedes the beginning of almost anything. The exhaustion of all that preparation, physical and mental.

I long to leave this body the way a snake leaves its skin, to shed the constraints of my restrictions, real and learned, and tread lightly across the landscapes, as it was once so effortless to do.


Header photo by Corrine Bayley