When I was little I used to wrap myself in the blue comforter on my daybed and count the lines in the red LCD numbers of my alarm clock – the little lines that make up each number. One has two lines, while two has five and looks like a backwards five, and therefore five has the same. Three never felt quite right to me, there were five lines, but it didn’t look like a five and wasn’t divisible by five, nor were seven and eight on my list of happy numbers either. My favorite time was always 6:54 because they each contained the exact amount of lines as in the number and counted down as six: five-four.
This was during the days when I counted everything from the number of tiles in the bathroom to the number of holes in a pair of window blinds. I would superstitiously jump over cracks in sidewalks, not because stepping on one would break my mother’s back, but because it disturbed the whole piece of sidewalk, cutting my perfectly square pieces of walkway into two, three, or more non-symmetrical forms. As a child this visual dissonance was greatly agravating and I would have to count and recount these pieces if the crack didn’t go all the way through and I was unsure about how many to count it as. I was afraid if I didn’t count them correctly God would know and would think I was dumb and punish me for it. My mom would try to get me to look up so I couldn’t see these things, but I knew they were there. A child always knows they’re there. Counting was deeply satisfying and consuming. There was comfort in the numbers that were always around.
The problem with the red LCD clock next to my bed was that every minute the numbers would change. five:four-five = 5:42 and two-five:five-three = 12:37. I would whisper them and close my eyes and try to see if they would stay closed for exactly a minute, but I would peep through a small corner, because I didn’t want to actually miss the change from five to four.
This was all when I was little, when I needed the comfort that only comes from controlling the mysterious. I don’t count like that anymore, the only thing I seem to count now are days and hours. I make countdowns and list times because I still like them.
As my department was being laid off I counted down the days on my calendar and had trouble deciding which little boxes to number, like do weekends count or not? As the days drew nearer it came down to hours but not seconds, because I’ve never been too keen on seconds, unless we are refering to a meal. I’ve always liked having a sense of consistency, but now as I await the approach of my flight out of the country I find myself unable to count. I can’t count because of a perfectly natural thing, a volcano that has thwarted my “plans.” A volcano has confused my sense of timing and made it clear that I cannot always plan on things, I just have to take it as it comes.
I am okay with this. I am not disappointed like some people are disappointed for me. I have waited almost thirty years to travel, a few more days won’t be the end of me. Actually I have waited… 10,932 days to go on this trip. Well… that’s the number of days I’ve been alive at least, though I’m not sure if tiny jaundiced Nicole actually knew she wanted to go on this trip someday, or did she?
My inclination is to count down the hours till my supposed flight tomorrow, but I’m going to let it go like I’ve learned to let a lot of other things go so that I don’t feel disenchanted. When things don’t turn out it’s okay because things will turn out how they should in the end, I’ve learned this many times over.
I will wait and I will see with little hope of guarantees, but if it should be right for me, the thing will come, will come to me.


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