By Amber Robbin
I woke as if erupting from a body of water, then lie there floating on top of my sheets. The timer clicked in my head, five hours and counting till all I could recall of the previous night would be retrieved. My soul tasted like gin. And Kahlua. (And poor judgment.)
I melded with the wall and every piece of furniture across my path on the long journey down the stairs. Like a wounded animal, I called out for the one person I thought could ease my pain: “Jimmy Jooohhhns…Jiiimmy Jooohhns!” I called and called for him, too hazy to even recognize that it was 8 in the morning, and he was still asleep.
I reached the threshold of the kitchen and fully surrendered my weight to the floor, first in a crumpled heap, then an alcohol-soaked snow angel. I brushed my arms back and forth over the cool hardwood. It soothed my baking body, and for a moment, I almost believed the vomit caked in my hair was snow.
“That floor is disgusting!” my mom said in passing, rupturing an avalanche inside my head. “I’m pretty sure I’ve got it beat,” I responded. My stepfather came in and started making one of his Sunday morning garbage omelets. Nothing was less appealing in my state, except for the sermon that came with it.
“At such-and-such-a conference, Mr. Blah Blah Blah gave a talk on the difference between pivoting and persevering. You see, that is where YOU are at Amber, at the crossroads of: do I persevere with this writing thing or pivot and try something else?”
He looked very pleased with himself, nevermind that he knew nothing about where I was at with my “writing thing.” Lying on the kitchen floor, my head was pivoting around the room. I was NOT persevering, and it wasn’t really a question of my career choice.
I was drowning in boredom, ok yes – lack of direction, and drama. I’d come back from a five-month soul-search in Europe that was supposed to give me all the answers, and now I was in Kansas City without a damn clue. The adventure had made life more worth living, undoubtedly, but it hadn’t done much for my pocketbook or predisposition to angst. However, it was the reason I had started writing again.
I was digressing, drudging up old love affairs, drinking myself silly. I spent my days sucked into my computer searching for a wormhole that would deliver me straight to success. Most of the time, I was furiously writing, putting truth to the page in an attempt to construct myself a new narrative. I was on the fast track to clearing out the last of my wasted mornings and those who’d always landed me on my back. And eventually, there would be things to do and people to see who made days better lived on my feet. Perseverance was the only option.
As I slowly came up to earth, I became aware that the floor was indeed disgusting. I rolled over on my side and lifted myself on my elbows just as our wiener dog Willow waddled her way over to my face. She licked my cheek voraciously with unconditional love, and I saw myself reflected in her wide, black pupils. Both our sets of eyes looked the same, welled up with concern and genuine affection for this sad little girl crumpled on the floor. It was enough to tell her, please get up. There’s so much to do today. I scooped Willow into my arms and went outside.
Amber Robbin is the creator of Tumbleweed Diaries. She is passionate about languages, world travel, and currently working on a book about her adventures in Italy.