Cicadas wait seventeen years to crawl out of the ground, rub their butts together, and die. 

I waited twenty-five days after filling out an apartment application to sign the lease and thought I might die. 

I have two new pimples named ‘Julia’ and ‘Kelton.’ For the past twenty-five days, my days have been like this: I phone their namesakes. I hear “It’s a wonderful day, how can I help you?” I’m told they’re out to lunch, or not arrived, or already gone. There is a precise ten-minute window when the cicadas’ songs align and the moon passes over the sun on the dim fiery morning of the rapture when, after twenty minutes of being on hold, Julia and Kelton are available on the phone. At which point I am told that I need to send the documents I’ve already sent five times. 

We had a problem-child application. Apparently ‘aspiring novelist’ doesn’t look good on paper. Nor does ‘makes her own kombucha’ or ‘has listened to the same yoga podcast for ten years’ aka frugal. Instead I had to prove the legitimacy of my ‘business’ aka me. I’ve never filed a tax return for it, but believe me officer, it’s real! It’s, uh, growing? 

Patience. I had none of it. We were a problem child and they didn’t want to deal with us, and every time I had to wait another day, I sprouted another pimple. My other zits are named ‘homeless’ and ‘rejected’ and ‘your career isn’t valid.’ 

We became well-acquainted with Julia’s hold music. It’s one long repeating song. There’s a nice lift with a saxophone. There’s the part where it turns to a minor key, dark and moody. There’s the part at the very end, which — and I don’t know if this is a mistake or intentional — there is a phone clicking noise, as if someone is releasing you from hold-purgatory; but they’re not, it’s part of the music, and the song begins all over again. 

This phone click. Is it meant to inspire hope? Or to knock you down from believing? At this point it doesn’t matter. It’s there, I know it well, I’ve come to love it. It’s consistent, and, unlike Julia, it will always be there if you wait long enough. 

Patience. I have a vision of myself as the embodiment of patience. This vision has popped like a pimple. What is it about waiting? It’s not the waiting. It’s how your mind runs wild with all the ideas of what might happen. It lingers on the bad ones. Getting rejected, which would portend future rejections from other places, other Julias, a roguish homelessness, cat in tow. Why not linger on the good? The beautiful bay windows, the roof deck. Or why not think of something completely different? Sitting in this beloved chair. Now I anticipate myself in future patient moments, petting the cat and not thinking about anything else. Patience. One day I will achieve it. Until then —

We move in ten days. We’ve booked the movers. We’ve signed the damn lease. Now we just need Julia to sign it, too…


Elliephant of the week: Getting nervous about all these boxes, she’s staging a sit-in on my backpack to prevent me from leaving

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