I woke up today without a second to spare. The moment my eyes snapped open, I fell prey to my voracious agenda; sensing my wakefulness, it barged into my room and shot me full of bullet points, each unleashing a poisonous worry that riddled me with anxiety as it spread through my veins. The numbers on the clock told me that I had slept two hours longer than I’d intended, and because of that, not a minute of this day would be my own. After letting this news sink in, my agenda, frightful predator that it was, sank its claws into me and hauled me out of my bed, dragging me to the door with an unapologetic look that said hey, you’re the one who made me. The gray clouds called to me as I headed into the bathroom, telling me to stop, to breathe. But I could barely hear them over the whir of the toothbrush and the buzz of chatter from my agenda, satisfied that it had my attention, briefing me on the day’s plan of attack.
On the way to my car, the cold air begged me to stop, to stay. I felt the appeal of its suggestion like a physical pull, but my agenda was having none of that. I got to my car so fast I figured my shoes must be conspiring against me. Hey, it was your plan, they shrugged as they hit the gas pedal.
Stopping at Walgreens to pick up the allergy medication necessary for my next stop, colorful items on the shelves drew me to them like a bird to a shiny piece of metal. Can’t stop, can’t shop, said my fingers as they refused to pick up the new multiflavored Chapstick. My feet turned me around and started for the storefront, but my eyes stopped them and forced them down the school supply aisle. My hands made no arguments here, reaching for notebooks, grasping them, turning pages, my eyes picturing my words filling the empty space. Put them down, ordered my agenda, outraged at losing my attention. Just one, I said, grabbing a small spiral off the middle shelf and clutching it tightly to my chest. Just in case I have to write something down. My agenda glared at me for a moment and then nodded indulgently, giving me a sad smile as I speedwalked to the checkout counter. It shook its head at my surge of excitement, knowing I would have no such time.
It was right, I thought resignedly, three hours later. I was tired and full and packing up to leave again, the empty notebook still in its shopping bag, somehow weighing more than it had when I bought it. It was your plan, my agenda reminded me, your promise, and you know you had fun. I had, and I didn’t want to leave. The dog, lounging on its side at my feet, draped a paw over my ankle when I took a step toward the door. Stay, its tail pleaded, thumping an irregular rhythm on the floor. We want you here. I wish I could, I said with my eyes, and ran out into the rain.
It pelted my windshield relentlessly as I drove to work, the fifteen minute drive taking over half an hour. Come on, said the raindrops, you’re already late. Don’t go. I’m late because of you, I told them. You’re the ones making everyone drive idiotically; if it wasn’t for you I would be there by now. But my heart wasn’t in the accusation, and I wanted nothing more than to stop and enjoy them, this rarity of steady raindrops. I don’t know what it is about the rain, how it inspires in me a need to halt everything and close my eyes. To curl up and be silent, to listen, to think. I can’t, I told the rain. I’m sorry. You are the one who chose these hours, my agenda snidely pointed out, sitting in the passenger seat. But it too was staring at the raindrops wistfully, perhaps wishing it wasn’t so full itself.
The downpour eased up and I arrived at work on time, instantly slipping into the necessary mindset to do my job, do it well. I forgot about the rain. I didn’t notice when it stopped. My agenda sat silently, watching me with a look that said maybe it regretted pushing me so hard. I stayed late, after everyone was gone, and when I finally packed up and went home it wasn’t because anything was driving me there, it was simply the only thing left to do.
An hour passed inside my house. Two. My agenda ceased to be anything but a notion. I sat blank-faced, scrolling through pictures of high-end, highly expensive activewear, starting a mental list of the things I’d try on tomorrow. Quickly scanning the times of the classes I’d signed up to take the next morning, I grabbed my new notebook and jotted them down before closing my laptop and heading into the bathroom for a shower. Another day, another list of plans. As the hot water hit my neck and shoulders I stood there and thought about nothing. On autopilot, my hands moved around my body, feet turning me around and then back, head moving from one side to the other. All silent.
Into my bed I climbed, exhausted both mentally and physically, and drew the heavy layers of blankets up around me. I became aware of an odd dripping sound and thought for a moment that I’d left the shower or sink on. No, I didn’t. It’s rain, I realized, a smile growing on my face. My eyes closed and I felt content for the first time since I’d woken up that morning, content to do nothing but listen to the rain as it pulled me toward sleep. But it didn’t. Knowing what I wanted to do before I knew it myself, it whispered one last word. Write, it urged, and without a single reason not to, I did just that.