First Things

Every day a friend across the ocean wakes up to suicidal thoughts. An-

other friend takes a drink to eat clean and another eats a candy bar in

bed before washing the sheets, doing laundry naked to ensure soft sleeps.

Another friend chants before going out to her analogy lab. Another hires

retired people to walk her dogs so that she can get to her trainer. Others,

desperate, rush harsh. Many people’s kids climb in. Many pets assert the

dominion of their drives. There’s stretching and the taking of medicine.

There’s accounting and anxious text checking. There’s scanning for bossy

emails and preconceptions. Lists get made. For some, there is breakfast.

Once spring rolls around there is running before the heat and catching

the first shift sitting outside the punk bakery to smoke, drink coffee, and

“break each other’s balls” before work does what work does. I asked them

about this phrase once and sparked a debate about whether it is properly

“break” or “bust.” Whatever, Professor, they laughed, yanking your chain,

busting your balls, don’t take it so serious!

Some people sleep in. Other people wake at the sun. Some people walk

into the house and see only the order in it. Some people serve other

people. Some use the quiet time to do the best things quiet time allows.

Some people waste it, which is not the opposite of using it well. When

I was little I had a task: to make coffee for the adults, measuring out the

Maxwell House, setting the breakfast table. Then I’d leave for school and

my early teachers would let me into the teachers’ lounge. A little troll

doll kid overhearing Allende, Planned Parenthood, and MLK. A confused

and sunny face taking in the voices and the concept of concepts, before

the day.

Kyla Tompkins