My head was pounding.
The space between my eyes throbbed as I turned over in bed. The morning was insistent. I squeezed my eyelids shut, trying to keep the sun's intruding light from splitting my skull in two.
It didn't feel like it would work.
I could hear crows calling each other overhead. I wanted them to hush. Why couldn't they be songbirds?
Why did they have to be so brash?
It was my own discomfort that answered. Ever songbirds right now would seem too loud.
Allergies? Maybe. Too many black thoughts not enough black coffee? A distinct possibility, but who knows? My daughter likes to blame alcohol. But she wasn't counting the single glass of wine I drank only to half before pouring out in the sink. I'm nothing if not a one-drink wonder.
Pottery clattered around harmlessly in the kitchen. I could hear her cheerful voice mix with others as the morning grew older. Paper thin walls and an open portal acted to transfigure me into the conversation. I could smell bacon, but I couldn't reach it, not that the pain in my head would have unclenched my stomach enough to allow such grift.
It's late. I should get up and find painkillers.
Instead, I pinched the webbing between each thumb and forefinger with the opposing afore-named digits.
It is not in my nature to subscribe to the art of medical hocus-pocus. I prefer to employ the socially accepted services of Dr. Google and panic. But I am trying to believe "doing no harm" is still possible, if only in the adage of "less is more" or "wait and see."
I have to admit, the web-skin-pinch seems to work in alleviating my sinus pain, even if just to take my mind off it until I muster the gumption to locate a pair of analgesics and a glass of water with which to wash them down.
In 20 minutes I will be me again, which I'm not saying is fine. It's just a person - foibles and all - who's become familiar to the voices in the kitchen if not entirely recognizable to myself.
"You are like a crow," my daughter said with a laugh the night before at bedtime. The room stoped breathing as the barb came perilously close to the truth before it veered into a safer direction.
She nodded at my wrist, which had a sleeve of bangles and other baubles she recognized as hers, and which I've readily admitted to having collected as I tidy up the floor, or sink basins, or from between the couch cushions where they'd been abandoned. Places, I am quick to point out, were not where these beloved things belonged.
What one person calls finding another calls theft.
I am like that crow. ... And all of the others the fairytales warn us of.
I will be the person who swoops into the conversation unannounced and ill-informed. Adding two cents that throws off the balance.
My voice sounding more and more like a cackle. Again with the allergies!
"Can you believe she's fifty? I know my mom is 50 but ..."
"Your mom is not 50!" I holler from above, a disembodied voice out of nowhere, fully invested in the misery that also sparked laughter.
And although I was fervent in clinging to the last year of my forth decade, I had to admit the moment was funny.
I am that old crow. Curved of beak and black of hair, now from a bottle instead of nature. Fooling no one.
It's a feeling that will pass as soon as the ibuprofen takes effect.