Her bedroom is lit by the dim, yellow green illumination of another laggard, east-central Virginia dawn. Though still lightly sleeping, she does hear the pale sounds of morning: squabbling crows, a stray dog barking across the street, and the faint snore of her hapless boyfriend beside her .
In time though without conscious recognition, Sarah will cross the indistinct threshold that separates sleepfulness from wakefulness, open her eyes, stare up at the ceiling of her sparsely furnished bedroom and wonder what it is she should be doing with herself on this or any other morning.
There is a weariness that comes from too little sleep and a weariness that comes from too much. There is a weariness that comes from leading a life that somehow seems not to be wholly your own. On this particular Sunday, Sarah is weary for each of these reasons, and weary too because she has no notion how any of this has happened to her nor what she could do about it should she actually recognize the underlying source of her fatigue. And so, she responds in the only fashion available, by staring at the ceiling of her dimly lit bedroom and wondering again what it is she should be doing with herself.
She turns quietly in her bed and silently flips on her nightstand reading lamp. She has no desire to arouse her boyfriend. She’s awake now and contentedly alone. She is little interested in being awake and still alone in the company of someone else. Sarah gropes beneath the side of the bed and finds yesterday’s edition of the Alabaster City Daily. She flits through its pages with complete disinterest, glancing only briefly at each headline before moving her apathy to the paper’s next news item. She easily slips past a grim story detailing the most recent actions of the Randolph County commissioners, skims the obituaries and then quickly surveys the help wanted ads. She decides to work through the daily crossword, but then thinks better of the idea. Sarah is much too weary for word games this morning. She puts down the paper and plucks up a book from her nightstand. It is a collection of short stories. It's written by Alice Muro. Its title is The Moons of Jupiter.
Sarah opens the book at random to a story she has read before. She rereads a particular passage. It is the story of a man and woman involved in an illicit affair. Muro observes that the two behave as though living their lives was something they would do later; as if the life they were presently leading was not nearly as real or compelling as the imagined future they anticipated for themselves. Muro does not burden her prose by stating the obvious moral underlying these two lovers’ misconceptions about life. Muro trusts her readers will understand. Sarah does.
And so, on this particular Sunday morning with no place to go and nothing to do, Sarah Collins returns Muro’s book to her nightstand, turns off the lamp, rolls to her side, pulls her comforter up tightly about her finely-tendoned shoulders and succumbs again to the numbing diversion of sleep. Tomorrow she will return to her featureless job as technical secretary to the architectural firm of Pisarro and Ware.