Alone…but not really


“I love you, have a great day! Be smart and proud of what you do!”

He grumbled something at me as the rear van door slid closed, put his head down and joined the stream of grade school kids shuffling into school.

It’s been a week since he did that school-shuffle. A week of snow days. We managed better than some, more cabin-fevery than others, but it was time to go back. I had dropped the older two off  at the high school an hour prior and for the first time in weeks I was alone.

A week of snow days.

A week of Daughter sick with some mystery virus.

A week of Husband sick with confirmed flu.

Two weeks of me sick with the flu.

Two weeks of Christmas break.

The last time I was alone as I went about my day and my projects it was still 2013.

For six full hours today I am alone.

At first I went about my Monday chores- I did laundry, changed the  bed sheets, tidied- up the weekend debris field.

Then I sat at my desk, ready to get back to my projects. But I was as overwhelmed by their voices as I had been by those of my family. Adding to the cacophony, deadlines loomed: a self-imposed deadline tomorrow, an editor one the day after and more. I had a long list and nothing stopping me from doing it, nothing that needed immediate attention or a sandwich or fresh glass of water and medicine.

It was just me…alone and alone me was stalled by enormity of the project list. Which was most important? The one due tomorrow, or the one that I had been working on the longest? For a woman alone, there was a lot of chatter at my desk.

“Me!” Said the short story halfway done.

“Us!” Said the women in the novel mid-revision.

“Ahem?” Said the contest entry that was only an idea.

“DUDE!” Said the kids from the novel that I started two years ago and is still  a rough draft.

“Kaching!” Said the paid work.

“Darling? Please?” Said the stack of research books that needed to become organized notes.

Then something at the side of my desk caught my confused and alone eye.

The unwrapped stack of index cards represented me at this moment. Ready and waiting for someone to fill them with story ideas, plot lines, chapter summaries and character sketches. The white cards were waiting for names of women to research, outlines of courageous lives lived and places to explore. The blank pages ready for one line hooks and points of an essay.

But they were as wrapped up as I had been the past month and a half.

I slid my nail along the edge to create an opening, then wrestled the plastic wrapper off .

I unwrapped the potential.

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