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One morning, on some day in your life you wake up and suddenly things have changed.
Today is that day!
In reality, perhaps it isn't sudden. Maybe it has been this gradual evolution of my body but I still 'feel' the same. I mean my deeper inner self doesn't know about this thing called time and the fact that it just passes.
But on one morning, on some day in your life you just wake up.
Today is that day for me!
You wake up, just like any other morning. The alarm is set too loud so that you will, in fact, hear it and you won't just think its part of some amazing dream. If you're anything like me, your alarm will be on the other side of the room in an effort to limit your ability to get those extra nine minutes of sleep by pressing snooze. It never works, but it's worth a try. It is harder than ever to get out of bed these days.
I'm just so tired, so very tired.
Then like a bolt of lightening straight through your soul the alarm comes on again. Your nine extra minutes is now eighteen. You have to get out of bed or you will be late!
But on one morning, on some day in your life, and mine, you just decide not to get up.
Today, thank God, is that day for me!
Late? For what? Late? To do what? Late? For who?
I don't know? I don't have all the answers. But what I do know is: On one morning, on some day in your life, you say to yourself, 'Not today! I'm not moving for anyone but myself today.'
I'm not going on that bus or that train where all the people are packed like sardines in a can. Certainly the smell is similar, depending on who you get standing next to you.
No! I'm not going. Not today!
I'm not going to drive there either. Just because I'm too late to catch that same old bus and train. I refuse to sit in my little bomb of a car in lanes and lanes of traffic where I don't seem to move. With my petrol gauge bordering on empty, and the replacement price too much for this week's pay packet.
I'm going to lay here all cosy in my bed until it is too late to do anything other than stay right where I am.
You know, on one morning, on some day in your life you wake up and suddenly things have changed.
Today, it would seem, is that day.
It's time to take control of where I am going on this journey. At the moment, it seems like I am on a massive wave that I can't get off; a wave that may dump me right on my unhappy head. A wave that I can't recall choosing to get on. My life wasn't meant to turn out like this!
No, not like this!
So here, here in my bed I will stay. At least until nine a.m. Oh, I am such a rebel!
I was meant to be married or at least have a permanent partner by now. I should have felt enormous amounts of love and passion and I should have had loads of sex! I should, at the very least, be having regular sex by now.
What's that all about?
I have spent years obsessed with a guy I thought I never could get. I admit it's safer for me that way. I like the idea of the amazing guy who is just out of reach. Well, apparently, he's not!
Ha! Imagine that! I have spent my whole life convincing myself that these guys were too good for me, that they would only ever think of me as a friend. But it would seem that it is totally the other way around. These guys think I'm too good for them! They don't even risk my standard rejection and on the odd occasion when they do, I run away in fright.
At 4:00 a.m. on some Sunday morning, whilst walking home alone once again, you suddenly get that your prince is not coming; he never was.
In fact, your prince is probably the guy that you've been obsessing about but he looked you over tonight because he knew you weren't the type of girl that is going to let him get his load off. Not tonight anyway, not on the first night. They don't even give you a chance.
But you know what? At 4:00 a.m. on some Sunday morning, whilst walking home alone; you suddenly will get an enormous amount of clarity.
In the scheme of girls and guys, the place where you are standing, is quite an empowered position. You like being the mysterious girl that the guys don't ever understand. You really don't want to be the one that lets the guy you've known forever, and loved for as long as you can remember, get his load off with you just for that night. Who needs that emotional torment!
Not me! Not ever again!
It's true: on one morning, on some day in your life you wake up and suddenly things aren't the way you thought they would be.
And no, it wasn't really suddenly. You just noticed it all of a sudden. All of a sudden, you realise that you've had a choice all along. At every stage in your life, you have had a choice on which road to take and how to interpret every situation.
Somehow after leaving Uni I managed to land myself a really non-challenging position in retail and now I work as an office manager, receptionist, PA, everything, in a large financial company in the city. There, the focus is on the money. I work too long and do too much for too little.
But I shouldn't complain; I did get that pay rise last week, enough to buy an extra litre of milk! Big deal.
Perfect really, for a young woman who did Environmental Science at University, thinking that she was going to somehow change the world.
But on some day, at some time in your life, you do really get the fact that you can't change people, and all you can really do is influence people on their own paths. Plant seeds that some day you can only hope will grow. Even helping an elderly person across the road changes the world.
'It is on such small things that the world turns!' And turn it will ...
On this day I am starting to understand that I have no one to blame. There is no one in this room but me. I have chosen the 'easy' road on most occasions.
I now know, laying here all cosy, that sometimes, most times, what looks like the easy road is not necessarily the easier path. Sitting in the grandstand watching life's game, while everyone else is playing it, is no place to be.
So I am handing in my ticket and running out onto that field!
Yes, on one morning, on some day in your life you wake up and suddenly things have changed.
I do recall going to the bathroom last night and looking in the mirror, as you do, picking my face, as you do, in my normal evening fashion. I grabbed my toothbrush and looked into my little tarnished bathroom mirror.
I looked different.
Is that ... is that ... is that ... a wrinkle? Some visible crow's feet! It can't be! A slight, yet significant, wrinkle coming off the side of my eye. Oh my God! It's coming off the other one too! I look different! My sixteen year old face that I see everyday, now looks worn out at the age of twenty-six!
When did this happen? When did I become what I suddenly see? I don't feel any different from when I was at school. I don't!
But on one morning or evening, on some day in your life you realise that you are different. You have actually changed.
I'm not sixteen anymore and I certainly don't look sixteen. My life is in the throes of young adulthood and my face now tells that story.
'We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.' —Jean Toomer
'Grace ... Grace get up! It's nearly ten o'clock. Grace?' my housemate, Phil shouts.
'Hey' I replied with a muffled voice.
'Grace, aren't you meant to be at work?'
I choose not to respond.
I can hear you Phil. I just don't want to and stop shoving me! Aren't I allowed to miss one day of God damn work!
'G-R-A-C-E! Are you awake? What's wrong?' Phil is standing in my doorway.
'Work just phoned. I told them you were sick ... All right I will leave you then. I have to go.'
Opening my eyes slightly I could see that Phil had left my room. I then heard the front door open and shut. Woohoo! All alone. Did he say it was ten o'clock? Ha! My goodness, this does feel great! Work phoned! Ha!
I can't help but feel wickedly guilty ... mmmmmm.
From my bed I can see out a slit in the blind. The day is just gorgeous, a crisp autumn day. The air smells fresh and sweet from the ocean that is only streets away. The sky is a crystal clear blue and the trees take on a new, far more colourful life.
I just adore this time of year.
Not too cold, and definitely not hot, like our burning summers. The sun seems to shine brighter and you can still feel an enormous amount of heat from the rays of sunshine in which I often stand. I feel like I am solar powered.
Mmmmmm ... I snuggle into my long body-size pillow. I love this pillow. I know it was a joke from my friends to substitute for a man. It certainly doesn't do that. But this morning, it will suffice.
I should really get up.
I am busting for the loo.
I should really get up.
Ok, I'm up.
Ok, I'm lying back down.
Why is it that I feel guilty for relaxing in bed for just one morning?
I am one of those people who feels bad if I sleep past 10 o'clock on Sundays. Monks can meditate for 2 years, and I can't even relax for 10 minutes. That has to change!
Anyway, I should really get up and at least go to the loo. I don't want to waste the day.
Ok, I am up! I am out of bed! I am on the way to the loo.
Just quietly, how brilliant is the release when you go to the toilet in the morning. I just love it! Sitting here with the window wide open, I can hear the world. I am so relaxed.
Then phone starts to ring.
That would be right! I am so not surprised. I am not hurrying for anyone. I'll let the machine get it.
A male voice ...
I'm here Ja. Hold on.
'Grace, are you there? It's Jack. Pick-up if you're there ...'
I'm coming ...
'Grace, I was just calling to ...'
Oh shit! I thought I only struggled taking my undies off, well today is the day to struggle to get them back on.
'... to see if you're ok. I just called you at work and they said you hadn't called in. That's not like you. I'm worried.'
How sweet. He's worried. Well he should be. I am a grown woman who can't dress herself after doing a pee.
I'm nearly there Ja.
'Anyway you mustn't be there ...'
I am! I am!
'I'll pop around this afternoon after work to see if you're ok.'
Yippee! My clothes are on!
That is so my life. Although, it is so not my life for Jack to say he is going to pop around like that.
Mmm ... Jack Doyle....
He is the one I never had, the one that got away, the one who is always there. The friend I have known forever and probably the one who loves me and hurts me the most. I think the sun shines out of his butt and that is never a safe place to put your heart. At someone's rear.
Jack is the guy my friends always warn me about. Although, unlike most guys your girlfriends warn you about, they like him. They just think I've been holding out for a relationship that will never happen.
They're probably right. But it's always hard to let go of something that your heart has never really had, but wants so much.
Jack is one of the things I either need to do something about or I have to get over him.
I think I need to pee again ...
Yes, yes I do!
It's my 21st birthday today. What started out as a really shitty day has turned out to be one that has been something quite incredibly special.
When I woke up this morning I felt so depressed and drained. I have been working so hard on my thesis that I haven't had time to get out with my friends, have fun and 'smell the roses'.
I mean, what am I doing all this for if not to be able to smell the roses? Life's just too short to be inside all the time, reading and writing.
I had another day of writing and studying planned. We only have two weeks left. One to get my thesis in and one week till our individual progression presentations. How daunting!
But it would seem that the universe had other plans for me today. My good friend Jack came over. He is just the best!
He said that on my 21st I should be out and about gaining energy from the world. He believes I write much better that way. So we went for a walk ...
'Where are you taking me?' I asked with a mischievous excitement in my voice.
It was just so perfect to be able to spend some time with my friend and it was even better that I was the one that didn't have to think about where we were going and what we were going to do there. I trusted him.
We ended up at the beach only a couple of blocks from my house. We sat on the seawall and looked at the ocean.
'This is what it's about, Grace'
'Yeah, I know, too good.'
It was the best of days. The sun shining, no bluer sky had been seen, the sea crystal and the surf just superb. Listening to the waves crashing, the intoxicating smells of the ocean and the pleasure of the company. It was hypnotizing.
'I so needed this, Ja. I have been consumed by all my work that I forgot what inspires me and then I wonder why I am so down.'
'You are in the best place in the world. You're about to fly.'
'I am about to go out into the "real" world. That is so scary for me. I feel safer with my dreams when I don't have to do anything about them.'
'You could do anything, be anything. You're about to finish the most amazing piece of work. You will be published one day.
You know what you want to do, so do it. Be it!'
'Close your eyes ...'
'Go on Grace. Just close your eyes.'
I looked at him and smiled. Then I closed my eyes. It is amazing how your senses can be overwhelmed by what you see. It was a very new feeling to sit on the sea wall with my eyes closed and have all my other senses heightened. I could smell more, hear more, and feel more ...
'Ok Grace, this is where you are ...
You're out in the surf on a perfect day. You can feel the sun's reflection on your face. The water is clear and the waves coming in are awesome.
There are a lot of surfers out and boogie board riders too. It's a really busy day at the beach with heaps of people on the shore.
You realise there are some sets coming in so you proceed out the back.
The majority caught the first set and you paddled over realising there could be something better if you only kept on moving ...
The rest caught the next but you felt there was more so you paddled over that wave on your own. You're on your new surfboard too. You've used it a couple of times and you knew that this all felt so good.
Over the next wave, you see the most perfect 5ft wave. You look around and you're out there on your own so no one can share in your joy. But you know what? It doesn't matter because you know you're there ...
You turn and start to paddle for it and you know it is going to be the greatest tube, the greatest wave, you've ever caught.
Grace, you're so right there, now, on that wave. Just about to take off and fly with it! In two weeks you fly with it! You take off!'
I opened my eyes. They had tears in them.
'Ja ... That is the most amazing thing anyone has said to me.'
'Happy Birthday Grace.'
Happy Birthday, indeed! That image is now so clear in my mind. After that, we just sat there. Talking, laughing and sometimes not saying a thing. With some people, with good friends and people you're connected with, you just don't need to say a thing. Jack has definitely taught me that. It's more important for what you say to have meaning than for it to be just sound. That's not communicating.
'Why can't all men be like you?'
'Why can't all chicks be like you?'
'Perhaps we change when we're in a relationship?'
'Unlike in friendship?'
The best thing about male friends is having that male energy around without having to worry about whether they want to sleep with you. Or without having to worry about what you're wearing or what you're saying because you don't need to get your hooks in with them. You just need to be.
I can talk to Jack about anything. It is just too nice right now. I hope it never changes.
But it will ...
Happy Birthday to me!
'If I could tell the world just one thing, it would be that we are all ok ...' Jewel
What should I do today?
What does one do when they're not sick and they're skipping work? I feel like a naughty schoolgirl. I am twenty-six years old and I feel naughty when I take an unscheduled day off work. How crazy ...
It is like I think work will stop without me. Or maybe it is that I know it won't and that we're all replaceable?
What should I do today?
Excerpted from Falling from Grace by Natalie-Ann McCauley Copyright © 2011 by Natalie Ann McCauley. Excerpted by permission of BALBOA PRESS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted January 13, 2012
I really enjoyed following the journey of Grace. I think all women will relate to her story. I found the honesty refreshing and compelling. I laughed and cried and can't wait to read the sequel. You will enjoy this easy read.
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