On the way The Red Line a roll of paper towels floats out of a 2-story window, unravels a bit in the wind, and lands gently but directly on my face as I watch. If this had happened six months ago I might have had a series of thoughts such as “Why? Why today? How did this happen to me?” But not now. Now, as I disentangle myself all I can think is, “Yes. Good. This seems correct. It is weird. Unexpected. Messy. Immediate. The universe is handing me a metaphor. Nicely done Universe.”

I am 25. It is February. I left my husband a month and a half ago. The window I am underneath, disentangling myself from paper towels is exactly 2 blocks away from the apartment I am subletting for the month of February. My roommates are two vibrant theatre kids in their early 20’s who call themselves the RoPoHoePatro. They do a lot of shrooms. If I turn left and walk two blocks in the opposite direction I would be at the door of The Man I Had An Affair With. I left him a month and a half ago too. But I don’t turn left. Because even though I think he’d really appreciate this story, I also know he doesn’t want me anymore. Not in that way. And I don’t blame him. Because I am enough of a dumpster fire that I am standing here. Still trapped in paper towel. Thinking about two very different men I walked away from, of my own free volition. Becoming increasingly. Inevitably. Late for work.

I am 25. I have freed myself from the roll of paper towels. And I am going through a list that I have written out three times. One is pinned to my wall. The other is folded into my wallet. The third is in the front of my notebook.

  1. Get Up
  2. Take a shower
  3. Eat breakfast
  4. Breathe in and out. All day long.
  5. Go to work
  6. Be present. Concentrate. Breathe in and out. All day long.
  7. Eat lunch
  8. Go back to work
  9. Be present. Concentrate. Breathe in and out. All day long.
  10. Eat dinner
  11. Go to rehearsal
  12. Be present. Concentrate. Breathe in and out. All day long.
  13. Go home
  14. Go to bed.

Underneath the list. In my messiest cursive it says “It takes 21 days to form a habit. Eventually you won’t have to remind yourself.”

The hardest things to do on this list are the last two. But I’ve been managing. And the list is comforting.  Even if it’s been more than 21 days. Even though I can’t possibly know that it’ll be 94 days before I start, slowly, to throw away my copies of this list.

I am 25. I am getting a divorce.

I am 25. Concentrate. Breathe in and out. All day long.


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