I was the same, but different.

The apartment lost any lingering odor of incense and had no homey smell to welcome. Closed curtains oppressed the room inside. With no light coming in through the two uselessly placed windows, the time of day disappeared; bright fall colors ceased to exist, and only the living space remained. It felt heavier, and I dropped my bags and tears, simultaneously, only truly knowing why one hit the ground. I had cracked under careful hands, reading a brand-new paperback for the first time with pages held firm, not by cheap glue but attached according to time-honored bookmaking traditions. This was a good story, a compelling story and one with wonder and promise.

I was the same, but different.

Early mornings are a gift and a curse. I drag myself from a pleasantly warm bed, alone, and greet the day silently. Too early for NPR, and with no-one to converse it means that coffee and getting out of the door, bags intact, are the only concerns in the room that I keep lit by only a bedside lamp. It was cold today and time for a heavier coat and gloves  to retain some warmth in my hands; a futile task, especially when the temperature falls lower.

I was the same, but dressed in more layers.

Coming home along the main street nearby holds more cheer and welcoming promise than starting my day walking along the closed storefronts, smell of Dunkin Donuts and, if I’m unlucky, rancid beer from the night before. It mystifies me that some bakeries take the uncluttered streets as an empty canvas over which to splatter yesterday’s stale bagels and rolls – like a onetime edible Jackson Pollock that attracts pigeons and vermin, rather than curious art lovers. So I choose the residential street, the quiet street, where on a very early morning I can see maybe a constellation and a sliver of moon, allowed in past the velvet ropes of light pollution. I like houses, homes, dark and quiet and warm and lived in. Last week, I saw  a porch, held up by props, Escher-painting perched an an impossible way. I wouldn’t want to walk in the front door under those. Neither do the family: in a space of a weekend, the props have been replaced with Greek-style columns befitting to the area, and neat stone steps ringed in brick. I look at it and exclaim; no one’s going to hear me so it doesn’t matter.

The train is coming sooner than I expected. I run. My coffee doesn’t spill this morning.

I am the same, but different.

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