This moment – finally February


Natalie Mix

The galaxy my friend drew onto my arm for her art portfolio, a reminder of the nearly perfect evening we had

In metallic ink from the Pilot G2 pens that are smeared across most of my worksheets from today, a single bullet point is scrawled in stunted cursive across my copy of “The Yellow Wallpaper” from AP Lit: “stream of consciousness.”

In the same way that I crave magical realism and fall into the throes of unreliable narrators, I can’t resist the particular pull of stream of consciousness writing—from The Bell Jar to The Great Gatsby to now this.

Like a bumblebee following the scent of pretty petals, I dart and dance between the lines of writing, nose-diving into the heart of flowers, dusting myself in traces of pollen.

I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

February arrived unceremoniously, and it’s another late night, surrounded by piles of laundry and books, a timer strategically set at fifteen-minute intervals to keep me awake. 

But tonight is different—different because I’ve determined that February will not be like January. I’m laying here, laptop propped up on my stomach and against my folded knees, thinking about “The Yellow Wallpaper,” about stream of consciousness, about slowing down.

I considered the poetic justice of the fact that yesterday, I wrote that I was a star without a constellation, and today, literal constellations decorate my skin.

Today, it rained too hard for me to drive my mom’s old car with its broken windshield wipers when our plans went awry, but “no” just wasn’t an option, so I took to the road in a different car, streetlights reflecting off the rainy pavement, and I found solace in it. 

My friend drew a solar system on my arm, the final component to one of her innumerable art portfolios, and now the stars and planets still dot my right arm beneath my well-worn hoodie. I considered the poetic justice of the fact that yesterday, I wrote that I was a star without a constellation, and today, literal constellations decorate my skin.

I can’t seem to find the end to my sentences now, only the beginning, but I’m beginning to feel something close to peace, and I know I’ve felt this before, though I’m not sure if it was quite this warm last time. 

My day was silhouetted in lines of poetry—apples sliced thin the way best friend does it, the thud-thud-thud of a heartbeat close enough to both feel and hear, all caps text messages that made me feel like maybe I am doing something right, conversations about shoes for the winter dance coupled with the realization that I can finally stand on my own two feet.

I think I spent most of January waiting—waiting to be able to walk again, to drive again, waiting to see the people who make me feel at home, waiting for crisis after crisis to pass, waiting for February to begin.

Thirty-one days passed, and all I remember is waiting. I’m sick of waiting.

So here’s to February, to a day that started with a headache and is ending with memories I can hold like a hand intertwined with my own, to the childlike hope for a snow day tomorrow, to turning eighteen in thirteen days. 

Here’s to February because I think I just might be ready.