The walk to the school where I work is long though sometimes it passes as if it takes seconds instead of hours. Sometimes it is easy to notice things, like how even on the smallest of leaves, drops of rain can cling, perfectly whole, until someone in ripped jeans (each rip like a surgical incision) walks by too fast, so the drops break and drip to the sidewalk.
Sometimes, streaks of the sunrise’s final yawn stretch through the gaps between tree branches where the morning birds scream. But as the weeks wear on, the morning sky stays darker longer, and such streaks become sparse. The ground is a wet carpet of yellow and brown collapse. I go a long time without thinking anything until University College’s muddy field forces me to go in circles around lost time.
Then the walk becomes hard as November ends and school inches toward exams. My legs drag, and I wonder what I’m carrying that is so heavy. I see other lost things like a barrette covered in a leopard-skin print that lies in the concrete doorway of the strip club instead of holding back a strand of someone’s hair.
Then comes the day when the chill digs into my muscles, and the sky takes over an hour to fade from deep blue to the pale blue you see too often in powder rooms, and my thoughts turn to my voice and where it has gone. On Palmerston, all the stately houses huddle together, impervious to wakefulness, the lone walker moving south, the green glow of the lampposts.
Now the walk is over. Christmas decorations are up and line people’s railings. Water has been smoothed into ice to skate on. I try not to let time make fun of me or stop me from seeing the promise in each morning. And people continue to walk with purpose toward things.