by Temma Schaechter
Every morning, at 7:08am, the alarm clock rings. And every time the clock strikes 7:08am, I grunt, roll over, and swear I die a little. After fifteen minutes of Regina Spektor’s All The Rowboats on replay, I finally stumble out of bed. I throw on the clothes I prepared the night earlier, apply a smidge of makeup, and leave the house.
Backtrack. Every morning, at 7:08am, my alarm clock rings. My throat produces a low, deep grunt, I use my perfectly functioning somatic nervous system to roll over, and I swear I die a little. After fifteen minutes, nine hundred seconds, nine hundred thousand milliseconds, sound waves echo from a 2-inch silicone box, and I finally use my perfectly functioning somatic nervous system to stumble out of bed. Bone by bone, with little unnoticeable movements, my body compresses and releases until I am out of bed, hair disheveled, eyes squinty and stinging, wanting nothing but to let my perfectly functioning somatic nervous system lay back down.
This morning, I lay in bed. The alarm clock rings at 5:08am. I do not move. I smile, still half-asleep, at the sound waves bouncing out of the 2-inch silicone box, dancing little jigs around my too-small, too-cramped, miracle room, with its deep, miracle, chestnut-brown floors laid out by interior designers, bought at some hardware store, coming from a mysterious truck from some woodwork shop where the chestnut-brown wood was chopped from an aging tree in the amazon.
This morning, I smile when I feel every limb in my body stretch slightly, and I smile when I feel my clumsy, yet perfectly functioning body, roll over and stumble out of bed. This morning, I smile when I tie my shoes, and notice my miracle configurations of skin branching out of my sweaty palm.
This morning, I leave my apartment at 5:24am. I smile when I hear the ding! of the elevator that I hear every morning at 7:26am and never notice.
This morning, when I leave my apartment, I spread out my arms and I take in the world. I smile as I inhale the perfume of New York mornings that I’ve stopped noticing: the subtle blend of the sweet dripping dew, and the pot-smokers at the corner by the 1 train, who now that I think of it, touch each other inappropriately every single morning for hours.
This morning, the city is silent. This morning I notice the silence.