Late.

Graphic by Penelope Taylor

Graphic by Penelope Taylor

BY MIA PENNEKAMP ’20

I woke up too late to catch the bus to class. I don’t like to run, and I hate running late.

I’ve always struggled with balancing the things that I do with the things I don’t want to do. I’ll walk the extra mile for a double latte but won’t cross the street to take out the trash. The lengths that I’ll go to avoid what I dislike could be construed as laziness, if they weren’t so thought out. I like to use the example of an afternoon boat ride from my childhood.

Graphic by Natalie Kulak ‘21

Graphic by Natalie Kulak ‘21

The waves crash against the bow of the old Contender, misting our faces. If you licked your arm, it would taste of salt. My small body curls into my father’s arms; I think we must be close to the house now so I pretend to sleep. I don’t want to help unload the boat — tie the ropes, spray the deck, lug the cooler, collect empty beer bottles and plastic containers filled with unfinished chicken salad. So, I sleep. But my six-year-old mind wasn’t clear on the mechanics of it. I think that sleeping means natural silence, so I hold my breath. I lay there in anguish stealing the tiniest bits of air until I hear my father laugh to his friends in his booming voice “Jesus, is this kid even breathing?” Instantly I was sucking in air, breathing like a yogi possessed. When we dock, he carries me into the house.

A few weeks ago in Northampton, the ground covered in thick snow, I lost my keys somewhere between Smith and Pure Barre. I was already running late to class. I retraced my steps, as my hands went red from the cold. I couldn’t find them. Normally, I’d be freaking out. I’d be spiraling. I’d cancel my workout. But that day, I took a breath, strapped on my grip socks and thought to myself about how many worse things there were to lose than your keys. Your breath, your father, your time. I surprised myself. Time is something funny. I’ve always hated running late, but now I’m conscious of losing time. When I think about it in that way, I think that I’ll continue my search for the double latte, for bliss in the snow.

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