I don’t want to die.
This was my first thought when I suddenly woke up from a dream. The bed sheets were soaked from my perspiration, my long hair pasted on my soggy face.
With my right hand, I swiped at stray strands covering my crusted eyes and blinked at the darkness beyond the glass window.
I hated that word. Why was it called daybreak and not just dawn? It wasn’t day yet and it certainly didn’t need a break. It would make sense to call noon as daybreak.
As I got up I rolled the bed sheets and pillowcase into a bundle. I walked towards the kitchen where the washer was and dumped the soiled sheets inside and initiated the cycle.
It was barely 5:00 in the morning. I gazed around the tiny kitchen and surveyed my surroundings. I owned a few basic things and these are mostly what I needed to use everyday. There was an electric stovetop, a fridge, a microwave, a coffee machine, and a tiny oval kitchen table pushed towards the sides of the left wall with one chair tucked underneath its legs. The bed was pushed towards the right wall. All of this made up my small studio apartment.
I’ve only had this one chair for seven years now. I used to share six chairs with my family, and then eventually two when I lived with him, but after we separated seven years ago, I moved into this tiny apartment and only bought one chair. I didn’t see the need for a second.
I started the coffee machine and made four cups of coffee and went to the bathroom to turn on the hot water while I brushed my teeth. It took less than five minutes to shower and then another three to put on a pair of black trousers and red silk blouse that I had prepared the night before. Normally, I would wear makeup if I’m attending a work meeting but today I just slapped on some moisturizer and painted my lips Chanel red.
Every morning was ritualized. I sat on the kitchen table drinking coffee while I watched the news on TV. It was the same news everyday, just regurgitated by different news networks. A war was always going on in some far flung African nation or Muslim nation, and the U.S. always had something to do with something. With my cup finished, I turned the TV off and gathered my black patent leather purse and car keys, walked towards the door where my patent leather pumps were waiting to be put on and walked out.
The sun had barely risen. There was a crescent moon hanging low on the horizon nestled amongst the hazy Los Angeles skyline. I made my way through the streets and when I hit the freeway, my car stalled as I sat waiting for the never ending traffic like a slithering snake with no known head or tail.
The brake lights of the cars in front of me illuminated the freeway for miles with no end.
The absolute worst is to feel stuck, and that’s exactly how I felt right now.. Stuck in the middle of highway 405 on my way to Santa Monica.
In a week, I would turn 34 years old.