Bad-Day Blessings

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I woke to clean sheets and rain, my favourite – a gentle pitter-patter against the window frame. But sometimes, even rain can’t set a day off right. Sometimes you’re just grumpy.

A day starts off on the wrong footing. And then, as if the law of averages has been turned on its head, the wrongs pile up and overshadow the good. Nothing life-threatening – but suddenly the morning rush seems an unassailable hurdle, you can’t shake the frown. You smudge your mascara, lose your patience, shed a tear at your own unkindness as you run to the station. Your hair is still damp, your eyes are creased. You miss the bus, spill your tea, lose an earring – all before the clock strikes ten.

But when you get to work – late – there’s a cup of coffee sitting on your desk. Your colleague beams at you and you find a forgotten Granny Smith, green and lustrous, in your drawer, fit for elevenses. Maybe the day isn’t such a bad one after all, you think. You take a deep breath, settle down to work, manage a smile.

Yet you find it hard to shake the feeling of being on the wrong footing, out of step. A day that starts off on the wrong footing so rarely seems to turn out right. You drink the coffee, stifle the yawns, watch the clock. And somehow, though your aching back and furrowed brow tell you otherwise, you survive the day.

When night falls, you trudge up the hill although your mind begs you to crawl into bed and weep. Slowly the endorphins work their magic and you feel the blood pulsing through your veins, yourself coming back to life. White lights adorn the trees, brightening the winter sky that has bloomed black like a bruise, and your friend greets you at her door with a hug and a smile and a “Lulu!” so enthusiastic that it instantly lifts your spirits. The pair of you hunker down on the couch with piping mugs of tea and plates of lemon cake, listening to London’s particular melody of sirens and buses roar past the window.

On the bus home a man is gesticulating to his wife, who is laughing – head thrown back in amusement, coffee-curls framing her face. He is chattering a italiano, you understand nothing, but the pair of them – their vitality – makes you smile. This life, this bus echoing with laughter, your breath spiralling into the air – ephemeral as the day. Tomorrow is a new dawn and a bad day does not a bad life make.

A scarf tangled through your hair, drunk with sleep, you think of all the good contained in this bad day, and all that is yet to come: the milestones, the good days and the bad days, the dull days and the extraordinary days. And how in spite of your bad day, you know nothing better.

You come home to a bunch of freesias on your dresser and a note from a boy wishing to take you out for a celebratory supper. Sometimes you must sigh through the bad days to see the good; to end the day feeling thankful for all your bad-day-blessings. And I am, because there’s really nothing better.