Samantha padded down the hallway, turning left at the top of the stairs to face her “office,” an old desk and hand-me-down chair crammed into the space in front of a tiny window, framed by blue curtains. She hadn’t looked at the space in weeks, although she’d certainly thought about it; it was often on her mind as she tumbled into bed exhausted, and drifted off to sleep, the wretched feeling of regret gnawing just under her ribs making the well-deserved rest less enjoyable than it should have been. Another day missed.
First, an ear infection. Then Peter had been ill. A runny nose that normally would’ve been no big deal, but that required a two week isolation, and testing, and extensive whining about missing hockey. Her car had required repairs. Something about the struts. Anyways, it was expensive. Michael had needed her help with invoices. The cleaning lady at the office had a family emergency, so she’d stepped in to tidy up after hours. All in all, a cacophony of needs that drowned out her own desire to sit, cup of tea in hand, in that crammed mis-matched space, and just write.
It’s not that Samantha really had time to write today either. She really should’ve cleaned Peter’s bathroom once more with heavy disinfectant. She really should’ve vacuumed up the stray spruce needles shed by the Christmas tree. She really should’ve called John and checked to see if he needed her to answer phones when the clinic got busy. She really should’ve taken a bag of chicken breasts out of the freezer to defrost for supper. She really should’ve washed the bin of away jersey’s stinking to high heaven in a rubbermaid bin in the middle of her entry way. But Samantha had finally had enough of the shoulds.
She took a sip from the warm mug in her hand, and slid into the second-hand office chair. She pulled a perfectly sharpened pencil out of the second drawer of the desk, smoothing out a blank sheet of computer paper in front of her. No lines. No margins. No rules.
No more shoulds.