Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mars At Midnight

I make my way to work. It is a path I have traveled many times now, at an hour that went from feeling strange to feeling normal. Yet, after a few days away, I suddenly feel as though I am traveling to Mars at midnight. I walk past patrons spilling out of bars and men and women of all ages clearly heading home after their shifts. I wait for buses whose schedules are much lighter than they would be during the day. I glance around, assessing my safety on each block, and on almost every corner. I hope against hope that the sleep I forced upon my brain and body during the day will have been enough to get me through the night.

I am getting used to the overnights, I really am. I value the daytime hours, at least on the days when I am conscious enough to use them. I have developed strategies and coping mechanisms. I am making this latest chapter work, to the point that many nights, I leave home almost as if I were heading off to a nine-to-five, backpack loaded, lunchbox in hand, and I return at 9am, proud of having worked my "day" already. But it is on nights like these, when I have slept a few nights at home, and looked at the dark only through a window, that it suddenly feels again like Mars at midnight. Perhaps there is some part of it all that will never be normal, no matter how long I do it, no matter how well I manage it. And maybe that's just how it is when you redefine yourself each day. There will always be new, and different, awkward, and difficult situations. We travel to Mars, if necessary. We travel at midnight, if necessary. And hopefully, we view the journey as more than just another odyssey. Hopefully, we see Mars at midnight as just another opportunity to spread our wings for a little flying.

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