Things seemed out of balance, as if some cosmic nonsense was tipping the scales and not in my favor. I needed to recharge. Running around and absorbing other folks frantic energy wasn't helping. Potential relief materialized via a calendar reminder.
I had forgotten about the annual museum mile festival and up until that morning went back and forth on whether I wanted to go or simply hide in my house at the end of the day. I thought, what the hell. I bounced the itinerary over to my colleague Sara who was more than happy to tag along.
Sara is one of those rare individuals filled with genuine positive energy and sunshine and a pleasure to be around.
Asking about which museum she wanted to hit first she suggested The Met, which is my favorite. She had never been. After clearing through security, I will never forget her excitement, squealing with delight and jumping up and down in front of an ancient statue of a Pharoah.
I was exhausted...emotionally, physically and everything
else in between. I had enough energy to get up and go to the day job
that I had checked out from three years prior…but the checks never bounced so
hey, what was one more day right? Then, over the course of several months, a
friend who had begun to mentally unravel tried to plug into me as her emotional
caregiver. Week after week the messages were nonstop, trying to flush me out. I would go home and curl up inside my reading chair like
Throw in a toxic family member who tried to draw me into their warped
perception of life and my place within it and the final domino fell. On autopilot I informed every family member in close proximity to this person that
I was exiting stage left for as long as I needed to and they were not to act as
go between. The universe was on my side as no one objected having
spotted that the writing on the wall was getting darker and more negative for
years. As for the friend, the parents
finally stepped in and took her away to get her the help she needed. I was
finally given an air pocket to breath, completely battered and bruised.
Slowly repairing the tracks, I zeroed in on one goal. I love
books, all kinds of books, so I thought maybe I could start by asking some of
those booksellers that were left if there was a spot for me within the stacks.
Just a mental refuge, wasn’t looking for pay ( though that was on my list),
just one step in front of the other. In a mental fog, I wandered into a
bookstore that sold volumes that are way out of my budget, unless I were to hit
the lottery. And the bookstore was the size of an office. I couldn’t hide
behind a row of volumes, I was front and center. So I admired the books
instead, gilt edges and all. There was one solitary shelf that had single books
( the rest were anthologies) and one in
particular kept grabbing my eye. Pulling it from the shelf I noticed it was a
price I could afford and justify to myself as a birthday-thanskgiving-christmas gift to myself. Twenty minutes later it was carefully
wrapped in tissue paper in a fancy bag coming home with me. I may not have left with a job,but something priceless.
Over the next few hours at home I marveled at its details. Hand
painted pages and random passages underlined with faint black crayon. One passage highlighted about a
soul being protected when in the midst of trials stuck out. I fell asleep with the book propped in my arm.
When I woke up I felt a little better. For the rest of the year when more upheaval arose, the book became my mental refuge. When the universe tapped me on the shoulder that I needed to finally break free from the job that was slowly killing my creativity, this book was in arms length. Its pages silently whispering encouragement. I may not be in a bookstore, but I am finally on the right path. Not so battered and not so bruised.
I'm the girl who is pointing her camera in the opposite direction of the Empire State building, at the faded sign on a tenement down the street. If not I'm bothering the folks at the Municipal Archives digging up info on people long gone and writing among other things a biography on a man who did wicked things. Stay tuned.