A Painter’s Story–A Day Off

“4:50 is far too early an hour and fifty minutes to be up”, I tell myself. “Let’s make it 4:55″. How short five minutes can seem when all I want it to be is an hour.
Thirty minutes later I’m driving down Aulick road, cursing 5:25 in the morning, and Glendale Ohio, and people who can pay to have their house painted and who live in Glendale Ohio, and the person in front of me who forgets I am in a hurry, and the coffee place that doesn’t open until 6:00, and the other coffee place that is temporarily closed for renovations, and people in Glendale Ohio.
As I drive past the Norwood lateral–a road I always thought would fun to drive on–I remind myself that at 2:30 I will be gone, and for five days, and it’s really not as bad as it seems–at least it’s cool outside. But now I’m thinking about how I’d rather be a kid again, with hazy ideas about where the Norwood lateral is and why there’s always traffic there.
Five days in Michigan. Breathe.
It’s all this that clogs my writing–all this that I can’t get past.
A good friend told me to write anyway–write even though it’s hard. So, after throwing the notebook away and turning off the light, I remember those words, and I have to finish at least this page.
Michigan is just what I need. Maine would be perfect. Crisp air blowing the sea into my hair and nostrils and eyes. Cliffs and pine trees and old New England homes. Michigan will do though–I don’t have a grandmother in Maine. Bikes on mackinaw island and long gravel roads and coffee in the morning while looking over the straights–those things are good too.
I think there’s more air in Michigan, and that’s good. I’ve been breathing too much paint.

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