I am weak, this I know. It took only one night of frigid temps for me to break my post-holiday “eat healthy” vow with a mug of sugary, milky, calorie-laden chai latte. Standing in front of the microwave, my fleece throw wrapped around me, I hoped the two minutes I’d punched on the timer would be long enough for the cats to finish eating for the 47th time so I could get my sweet fix and get back to the couch and my movie (Eat Pray Love).
The cats went flying and I flew to the back door to see my still fully intact Halloween pumpkin, which I had so jauntily perched on top of the grill with a pair of glittery red Christmas bells wrapped around it, rolling along the driveway. I made it outside just in time to see the pumpkin turning the corner and starting down our steep driveway. Just out of my reach, it ricocheted against the berm of the planting bed and back out onto the pavement, picking up speed. I tried flinging my fleece at it to slow it down — futile. Now it was a big orange bumpety bowling ball, headed straight down the alley, with me chasing after it in the 20-degree darkness, in my holey slippers, hoping the pavement wasn’t icy and I wouldn’t kill myself.
Down Big Orange went, careening across the street (thank God no cars just then) and right up the concrete ramp my neighbor Nancy had just replaced her front steps with, probably in anticipation of the knee replacement she needs.
Right into her front door.
I paused, only halfway down the driveway. I imagined the oozing bits of smashed pumpkin all over her stoop. The 10-year-old in me considered turning and running back inside — she’d never know it was my pumpkin. But no, I did the adult thing, running through the curbside slush to assess the damage. A miracle — no smash! But I had to search for Big Orange in her yard (why is it so damn dark everywhere?!), expecting to see her fling open her front door in a panic any second as Gracie barked and barked on the other side.
She didn’t appear. Maybe she wasn’t home (though her car was out front). Maybe she didn’t hear it (not likely). Or maybe she thought “No way in hell I’m going to see who/what just pounded on my front door.”
I’ll fess up next time I see her (so, like, April or May).
In the meantime, I retrieved Big Orange (still solid as a rock — clearly a superior squash), race-walked back up the driveway, recovered my flung fleece, deposited Big Orange on the bench by the back door, retrieved the worse-for-the-wear glittery red Christmas bells, and went back to my chai.
It needed another 30 seconds. And I completely forgot the whipped cream. So, bright spot, the diet’s not fully trashed after all.
“Life was a little like that, I guess.
We’d spend so long chasing after something already in motion,
always out of reach and calling, just ahead.”
~ Mackenzie Herbert, Chasing Trains