One day my mind came to me and asked if we could talk.
I hate when people ask if we can talk. Nothing good ever follows that question.
But my mind looked worried and I do care about him. So I said, “Sure. What’s up?”
My mind wrung his hands. He looked at the floor. He started organizing things on my desk. “OK,” he said. “You know I love working here.”
Here it comes, I thought.
“No, don’t do that,” my mind said. “Let me finish.”
“OK,” I said. I stopped thinking. “Say it.”
“You know I love working here,” my mind said again. “You’re great. The work is really interesting. It’s just — ” my mind paused and then went on “– there’s just so much of it,” he said. He looked at me, cringing a little. I knew he was watching to see how I would react. I can always tell what he’s thinking.
But he was right and I knew it. “We have been going pretty hard lately,” I said.
“Yes,” my mind said.
“You know I appreciate everything you do,” I said.
“Absolutely! Without question!” My mind said. “That is not what this is about.”
“Are you asking for some time off?” I said.
My mind nodded. He looked hopeful now and I really felt my heart go out to the guy. I had been asking a lot of him. And not just during business hours. All night sometimes and I’m sure I hadn’t properly thanked him (although, between you and me, I have to say that sometimes I was ready for him to stop, to shut off, but the guy never shut up, he never cared that it was 3 AM, but that’s petty, I don’t want to get like that, he’s great, great). We had been getting on each other’s nerves. It might do us some good to spend some time apart.
“Alright,” I said. “Look. We don’t have any deadlines. You’ve been going really hard. What would you think of a week off?”
“A whole week?” My mind said. I could tell he wanted me to say yes. And he knew I was going to.
“You deserve it. Take a week,” I said.
“If you think you can do without me,” my mind said.
“Hey,” I said. “I appreciate you. But don’t let it go to your head.”
“No! Of course!” My mind said. “I’m just so glad you understand.”
My mind left while I was sleeping. When I woke up in the morning, I only had one thought. It’s so quiet I thought.
It was quiet. My mind’s a great guy, but, you know, the guy talks a lot. I mean A LOT. Constantly: “What if we this? What if we that? Hey, I wonder what the chemical process for x,y,z is. Did you ever notice it’s always the same birds that sing first in the morning? Don’t forget to get the propane tank filled. Does this sound like a British accent? Who was the first idiot who thought to eat an oyster — it had to be a dare, right? Do you remember when Mrs. Holloway’s dress got caught in her pantyhose when you were in the 5th grade and only Carrie what’s-her-name told her while you and the rest of the class just giggled? It’s its, right? Or is it it’s?”
And on like that.
But now he was gone and it was quiet. It’s so quiet, I thought. I realized I had already thought that. It is quiet, I thought.
I had big plans for the week. It was so quiet. I was going to work on my novel. But I couldn’t figure out how to move the plot forward. I decided to read a book. I pulled one off the bookshelf at random, but I couldn’t get into it. I read the first page of another one. It didn’t hold my interest. I ended up in front of the TV. I switched it on and right away I found a Kardashians marathon. This was a show my mind would never sit still for if he was here. But my mind was gone. So I watched.
I couldn’t keep up with it. Maybe I haven’t given those girls enough credit. I switched to the weather channel. I liked the way the maps moved.
My mind was gone for more than a month. When he came back, I was still watching the weather channel. He didn’t say anything. Neither did I. I wasn’t happy that he found me on the couch, staring, in the quiet, at the high pressure system circulating over the Northwest. And I could tell he didn’t want to tell me where he’d been.
We’ve agreed to focus on the future.
We got some work done on my novel today. My mind helped me figure out there’s a connection between the story about the dog and the story about Martin’s sick mother. It’s not an either/or proposition; the novel only works if I tell both stories. That means a lot more work for me. For us. But he was right. He’s always right. “You keep coming up with solutions like that, I might never let you leave again,” I said.
“Oops, I’ve done it now,” he said. But he smiled.
“Its good to have you back,” I said.
“It’s it’s,” he said.