As the rather small rectangular man made his way throughout the perfectly-styled living room she had spent hours staging, Brit exhaled a long-winded sigh and thought that maybe just maybe if this condo sold today she could give herself a break tomorrow. It was Sunday after all. She’d been driving herself hard all month; actually who was she kidding, she’d been going hard for the past twenty five years . . . each week blasting into the next. She barely slowed down to enjoy any of it.
Moments later, a sound muffled from the far corner of the room.
“Will the owners throw in the furniture if I outbid everyone?” Smirked the small man.
“Hell, anything's possible at the right price,” Brit chided him like the well-seasoned sales agent she was. She left out the fine detail that eighty percent of this furniture came from her own staging warehouse, which had taken years to to create.
Numbed out and depleted she could only chuckle to herself - somedays she felt like she could sell her first born for the right price, especially in those demanding moments where nothing seemed good enough or expensive enough. Oh please just buy this place so I can go put my feet up, she thought. I so need that today. Her stomach rumbled with anticipation. She would pour herself that new-found Pinot Noir and perhaps instead of drowning out in another evening of Netflix binging, she might even consider opening "the book" a friend had just passed on to her, ranting and raving about how it had totally resonated with her soul. It had struck a chord with her friend and she loved the character Lilly so much and thought Brit would too. Actually, if she recalled accurately, her friend had said that the lead character was going through what everyone was going through - everyone could relate to Lilly.
As Brit watched the man wander the space putting annoying finger marks on her perfectly- styled space, she found her thoughts drifting towards her friend and "the book". Why oh why did her well-meaning friend always have something to give her? Why did she always feel the need to "save" her? At least it seemed that way. Brit was so tired of that wasn’t she? At the same time, she couldn’t seem to get off this exhausting roller coaster all by herself so perhaps she could use some help. Brit felt that she couldn’t give herself permission to pause her life just for a moment. She lived in fear of what she might find or have to face head on if she did. Had that always been the case? When had she gotten it into her head that this non-stop pace that she was so caught up in was what she wanted? There must have been a time when chilling out had come easier . . . a moment when she was filled with hope and a love for the simple pleasures of life.
Today, everything just seemed harder . . . everything drained her and even when she did manage to slow down a little, a thousand TO-DO’s whirled through her cerebellum with a thunderous force. Brit couldn't sit still for a minute. She’d always get up to adjust something, make it perfect as if fixing or controlling something in her "outer world" would miraculously fix something inside that she just couldn’t quite put her finger on.
She exhaled a long-winded sigh . . . just thinking about all of this as she surveyed the little man wandering the space, talking to himself. As she observed him, the title of "the book" pricked the back of her skull like a splinter: "The Life I Didn’t Notice". There was something indefinable about the title that both captivated and made her want to bolt out of her current life. Brit shook her head in a feeble attempt to clear her thoughts. Come on Brit, sell this condo . . . the Pinot is waiting.
Brit finally arrived home four hours later, contract in hand to an empty house. This normally gave her the creeps as she usually could not stand being alone with her thoughts. But something felt different that evening. It was like a different kind of exhaustion was settling in-not only into her fifty year-old bones but deep into the recesses of her mind . . . a sense of urgency mixed with a restlessness that had existed for a very long time. Maybe I really do need the Pinot and that book, her inner voice whispered along the walls of her empty house.
A half hour later Brit found herself pacing her living room floor, Pinot in one hand, "the book" cracked open in the other to a page that was both fascinating and unnerving all at once. She just couldn’t put it down. Her eyes danced along the type-written words, her fingers brushing along the soft linen pages, her heart threatening to explode as she read the words aloud.
A Restless Soul
In the blink of an eye the years drifted across the sea. The daily routing of guilt, fear and longing anchored me like a ship in port. I’ve been unable to truly experience my life. What happened to me? I used to seek out adventure like a kid at a county fair. Lazlo’s words honed in on me and seared my soul like a heat seeking missile, drilling deep into my subconscious. Target reached.
The signs I didn’t see, the miracles I didn’t embrace, the life I didn’t notice…
A troubling thought shuttered in her mind: How could someone, in this instance, the author of this damned book, know me . . . know my life? She was both captivated and sufficiently irritated that she had to top up the Pinot again. Thank god she hadn’t skimped on this bottle. Every drop drizzled down the back of her throat like liquid honey.
A part of her wanted to fling "the book" across the room because of its ability to somehow capture in words what she hadn’t been able to put her finger on for so long . . . how she longed for something different but she didn't know what the hell it was. This both intrigued and annoyed her and yet another aspect of her wanted nothing more than to cuddle with "the book" like a long-lost best friend.
So Brit finally found herself surrendering, letting go, allowing chapter after chapter to open her mind and heart which for years she'd convinced herself was no longer possible. It felt both exhilarating and uneasy all at once and for some reason she didn’t give a damn. For in that moment she was for the first time unafraid to feel all of it as she combed the paragraphs of Lilly’s story.
Tomorrow, she was going to call her dear friend and have a WTF conversation. As she savored the final few drops of Pinot, a troubling thought bubbled to the surface: WTF were you thinking giving me this book and WTF took you so long!