Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Morning Walk

I turned my heel walking to work this morning. I'm wearing these new boots, and they don't even have a high heel—just a slight one. But they're slightly loose around the ankle, and as I was walking too fast, my heel turned, and I lost my balance.

I didn't fall; I wasn't hurt; no one saw. Still, my face flushed with embarrassment and my heart sank a little bit. It's so ridiculous. It wasn't a big deal at all.

But to me, it just felt like another small example of how I fail at all these simple things so many other adults seem to intuitively grasp. You know, like walking. Why am I so hard on myself? I regained my balance, took a deep, slightly shaky breath, and grabbed the railing as I walked up the stairs.

The season is changing, and the air has that crisp, cool feel once again. It's my favorite time of year, but it also makes me feel homesick as well. Not even homesick, exactly, but more like longing for something lost, a place that no longer really exists.

This morning, before I turned my heel, and before I let my confidence shatter over something so small and so silly, I sat on the train next to this woman reading The New York Times. She held the paper, and even her head, exactly the way my mother did when she read the paper at the kitchen table. I had my New Yorker out to read, but I just let it sit on my lap, strangely contented by this complete stranger who looked nothing like my mother, but read the paper in the exact same way.

I felt a little sad as I got off at Clark and Lake and started walking to the office. There's a small part of me that keeps telling myself, "Someday, you won't miss her so much," but there's another part that holds on to the feeling, tight, because it's all I have of her now. I clutched my phone in my hands and wished away the desperate part of me that so badly wanted to call my mother, and that's when, lost in my thoughts, I turned my heel and almost fell down.

I know I won't stop missing her. It's constant, and expected, like the inevitable turn of the season. Today, I guess, it's just like that crisp, cool feel of the beginnings of fall—you feel a chill that you haven't in some time, but it's not entirely unpleasant. And just as I start to feel like I'm a little too cold, I turn the corner, the sun hits my face, and I'm warm again.


  1. Beautiful, Al. And I'm glad you didn't fall down! This time of year makes me nostalgic for you! -We had so much fun. I remember our little excursions around campus and in Brown County. We'll have to make an afternoon visit soon. I need you and a cup of hot apple cider. :) Eileen

  2. I'm glad you didn't fall, too. Miss you.