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She woke up a bit confused. On any normal day of the week, she normally hears him leave. But today, today was different. There was no shuffling while he got dressed, no shutting of doors, no attempting to go back to sleep after she heard his final footsteps out the door.
With a yawn and slight stretch, she sat up in bed. “Mmmm,” she moaned, “those Benadryl must’ve really knocked me out last night.”
Looking down at the ground, she noticed Sperry sitting on the dog bed. The puppy snores indicated that Todd had either let Sperry out, or Sperry just wanted to sleep in. Either way, she didn’t hate the start to her slow morning as much as she cherished it.
After their trip to Aspen, the excitement of wedding planning had worn off. They’d finally selected a venue for both the wedding and the reception — and with that, the major decisions felt as though they’d evaporated with just the minor details weighing heavier than they should on her mind. Todd could finally breathe a breath of fresh air, while she… well, couldn’t.
Despite being months away, she still felt a sense of urgency. Who was going to do the flowers? What would the color scheme of their invitations be? Would Sperry be integral in the outdoor ceremony? She could request Timothée’s help, but paying an hourly fee on top of the already exorbitant prices of everything seemed like overkill at a certain point.
With her face pressed against her pillow and her arm slung to the side with her phone in-hand, she scrolled her Instagram feed. Lifestyle blogger, an acquaintance she hate-followed, lifestyle blogger, lifestyle blogger, yoga instructor, meme account. Same feed, different day.
She yawned before muttering, “Mama’s tired,” to Sperry. Sperry simply looked up and yawned back. It was a mood.
As she kept scrolling, she noticed a promoted post come up on her feed — “Headspace.” The paid post was somewhat ambiguous, but just well-done enough that she decided to actually tap it and see more.
“Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple,” she read. “Mindfulness,” for better or worse, was a buzzword she had read everywhere from Goop to Cosmo, something she had yet to implement into her everyday life. Just from the nature of the word itself, she kiiiiind of knew what it meant.
“You know what?” she thought to herself, “Let’s give this meditation thing a try.” She had already mastered pilates, yoga, and every other workout trend in the current fitness landscape, but maybe it was time to exercise her mind. Her favorite part of spin class was when they lowered the lights and thought about everything they wanted to conquer, so maybe meditation would accomplish the same feat without having to pay $28 per class at SoulCycle.
When the app finally downloaded, she opened it. There were a few options for her — the ten free trial sessions, a $12.99 monthly membership, a $94.99 yearly membership, and a $399.99 lifetime membership. Her first inclination was to buy an entire year and see where her newfound mindfulness would lead her, but her logic convinced her otherwise. After all, the last thing she wanted was a phone call from her dad wondering why there was a 95-dollar iTunes charge on their account.
“I’ll just go with the $12.99 monthly,” she finally decided.
She tapped the first session — it was a gentle sounding British accent that immediately took her. Slowly but surely, he instructed her to breath in through her nose and out through her mouth.
“Innnnnnnnn through the nose,” she thought. “And outtttttttttttt through the mouth,” she exhaled.
She repeated, each time getting easier than the last. At this point, Sperry had jumped on the bed and sat down at her feet.
When she was finally instructed to close her eyes, she wondered whether or not she was supposed to maintain the same breathing routine. She also got nervous that Sperry was chewing on something at the foot of the bed, but she didn’t want to sell her first session short.
As the British voice continued to coax her, she felt heavier than she did when she had her eyes open. Not in the “I’m so fucking bloated after a long weekend of drinking” way, but in a “I’ve never felt so present in my entire fucking life” way.
In through her nose, out through her mouth.
“Allow your mind to wander,” she was told, “but then bring your mind back gently.”
Unbeknowst to the previously recorded voice, her mind had already begun to wander.
“I wonder what Katie is doing for lunch today,” was her first thought. They had made loose plans to grab lunch on Sunday but had yet to reconnect since then. “Mmmmmm,” she thought, “a Whole Foods salad sounds delish.”
“Shit shit shit,” she scolded herself, “back to the meditating.”
She then began to wonder how long the meditation had lasted. It felt like she was 25 minutes in, but she had selected the ten-minute session for herself. “Ugh,” she grunted with her eyes still closed, “How freaking long is this? Am I about to join a cult? Is this how Tom Cruise recruited Katie Holmes into that Scientistology stuff?”
She wanted to text Caroline to see if she had ever used the app before, but in favor or mindfulness, she decided to wait until they caught up over drinks that night to actually broach the subject.
“I wonder where we’ll go for drinks,” her mind continued to wander. “I want to go to Grove & Vine, but that waitress their last time was such a bitch. We could try that new wine bar that I got an email from Eater about the other day, but I bet it’s slammed with a bunch of basics who made rezzies long before today.”
“Starting at the top of your head,” the British voice continued, “feel everything resting down to the tips of your toes, with your feet resting softly on the ground.”
“Wait, fuck,” her train of thought halted, “I’m supposed to be sitting with my feet on the ground? If that’s the case, why wouldn’t they tell you that before you start the first freaking session? Like, should I open my eye and sit up or should I just keep doing this and put my feet on the ground when I do this again tomorrow? TBH, they really should explain all this before you start.”
It was only after this that his voice came to a halt. It wasn’t a screeching halt, but a soft one that made her wonder whether or not her session was still going or if it had ended.
“Am I… am I supposed to open my eyes now?” she questioned. “Honestly, this British dude is starting to piss me right off.”
She opened one eye and unlocked her phone — still two minutes left. “Does this guy really get paid to sit in silence for minutes on end?” she wondered. “I wish I could get a job like that.”
And then her mind began to wander yet again. “Maybe I’ll just make Caroline choose where we get drinks tonight. I wonder if there’s any football on that Todd’s going to want to watch, or if we should invite he and John. They’ll probs want to go somewhere with a longer beer list than a wine list. Gross.”
“And now, when you’re ready,” he interrupted, “open your eyes.”
Her frustration with him began to boil over. His two-minute absence already caused her to open her eyes, and honestly, it was his fault for going missing for so long.
When she finally opened them, she saw Sperry still sitting at her feet looking directly at her. Rather than feeling more relaxed, she now had a myriad of thoughts on her mind ranging from the wedding to figuring out plans for the night. “Mindfulness,” to her, just felt like her mind was full of bullshit rather than cleared of the debris.
She cleared the app and opened her messages.
“Are we still getting drinks tonight?” she sent to Caroline. “I need to decompress.” .