I want to be hibernating. This is the time of year to hibernate. Yes, I live in California, but the northern bit of it. It gets dark before five p.m. That means hibernation.
But, no such luck. I must muster out of bed in the dark of the a.m. and make my way to work, then home again home again in the deep dark of a winter's eve. Normally, the bus commute is reading time. But when it's dark outside, my stomach lurches by the second block, and by the third I'm reaching for the bell, sweat pouring down my face and hands a-tremble.
So reading's out.
Somehow, though, knitting is fine. I can look up often enough to see where we're going, no sweats, no trembling, no dry heaves into the lap of my neighbor.
Tonight I pull my knitting from my bag as soon as I'm seated. I'm practiced at this by now, removing the stoppers from my needles, checking my pattern to see where I am, I settle the whole works in my lap, when I see my yarn isn't where it should be.
The red ball of yarn has escaped from my bag, and now it rolls quietly down the aisle of the bus.
The bus is in motion, my hands are full, the ball rolls, playing out the line that leads all the way back to my needles. I'm sitting near the back, and all I can do is watch its progress. It rolls neatly ahead, then dips to the side as the bus turns, then out again into the aisle, passengers one by one taking note as it passes, it's pointless to chase it down while we're moving: the yarn is nimble and light, I am an ox carrying panniers of water.
It rolls all the way to the front, at last coming to rest against a passenger's foot. It nudges at her instep like a kitten, but she doesn't see, doesn't feel its soft insistence until I rustle, lumber, clank to retrieve my prodigal yarn.
I murmur a sorry as I brush against her shoe to pick up my rebellious red ball, then scurry back to my place.
No - I correct myself: I murmur a sorry, barely holding in the guffaws that inflate my cheeks. I'm laughing, all the way, I'm delighted, and as I pass, the other passengers look up and into my eyes and share the joke.
I resume my seat, the whole bus shaking with silent laughter, those invisible walls between stranger and stranger dissolved for a moment, and I'm glad, finally, that I emerged from my cave today.