A city. A breeze. Carrying the sounds, the smells, the pulse of a city waking to a hump day. A slight straining, suits and heels and shine shiny bags, waiting for the push, the next eight hours, to conquer it, the prize being able to say: cheer up, it’s almost the weekend.
My table rocks side to side as I write. My chair is cold, black metal. Scrapes against the marble tiles echo around this glass space and jar against the delicate morning. Industrial, bright, shouting, crimson red against the muted pastel feelings, not quite awake, an intrusion and shocking, irritating. The echo rings out and fades, blended back into the hues of the morning. We settle again. We walk on.
A hotel looms, self-important. Curtains drawn, curtains pulled back. A tie knotted, a glance out of the glass, and turn and back into the work world, waking moments, chiseled, groomed, grey business armour.
Five minutes to count down. I stare at the screen and will time to slow, to give me another minute or two or ten or sixty. To watch. To wake. To feel. Tiredness pulls my skin. I want to shrink. We can be whatever and whomever we want. But we can’t. Not all of us.
And it’s time. A final few seconds, the calm before. I gather my cardboard cup, hot against my fingers. Push back my chair and send the scrape of the alarm ringing, reverberating waves through this city. I stand, I breathe, I transform. My armour for the day.