Why is it so cold? I open my eyes and the confusion clears. I am immediately reminded of my mission today, to buy a blanket. I pull my phone from the charger and check the time, almost ten. Surely something must be open on a Saturday so that I can buy a blanket.
I send a few quick messages to my fiance and head into the bathroom.
By the time I head out my door it is nearing twelve O’clock. Walking in the town still intimidates me, but not nearly as much as it did yesterday. I pass by the Co-op, but the doors are shut and the parking lot is empty. I pass by what I am soon to learn are the arena, and the future youth center, a play ground outside another big building, and finally I see the Northern.
As I approach I see the sign with hours of operation. Open ten AM to six PM on Saturdays, perfect, but the door is locked. I look around for some clue as to why it is locked, but see nothing, as I start my walk home I imagine another cold night.
As I walk I hear voices. Two people have emerged from a nearby house with “Northern” vests on. My heartbeat quickens with anticipation as I speed walk back to the store and walk in behind them. I can’t help but smile as I search the aisles. They have one aisle split between home furnishings and toys. I find what I am looking for on the bottom shelf, a grey comforter with bright yellow flowers on it. I snatch it up and force myself to walk calmly to the cash.
At home I squeal with glee as I spread out my new comforter. It is perfect. I proudly send a photo to my fiance.
I scrape together a meal for lunch. I plan to see my classroom today, and my curiosity speeds up everything I do; I give myself a stomach ache after I scarf down my meal of mini pizzas. I am not bothered as I prepare and head out again.
I am so thankful I live minutes from the school on foot. I can see it from many of my windows. When I arrive I wander towards the office. Jerry notices me and comes to greet me. He offers me a tour of the school which ends at my classroom. The door sits wide open, a number of desks and other furniture are spread throughout the room. My imagination goes wild with the possibilities. A stack of boxes reaches up to the ceiling behind the door. I shrug off my coat and get to work unpacking boxes. The knowledge that I have only a few days before school starts propels me. I want my room to be set up and welcoming. I want my students to know I care about them before they even sit down.
I work hard all afternoon, and into the evening. I haven’t seen anyone else yet, but I figure they will be around soon. I finish up for the night and walk home.
Jamie shows up at my house, and invites me for dinner. Since I have very little food of my own I happily accept. Fillip brings over a salad and we feast on pasta and lettuce. We laugh and talk; I imagine the year we will have, full of games nights and dinners. I already consider them my friends. Isolation can bring people together fast. I walk home to my warm bed smiling with a belly full of food and joy.
The year is only just beginning.