Nothing New in the Morning Saves the Effort of Waking

A Short Story

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Nothing new in the morning saves the effort of waking. That and the news of digital numbers that only create further distance, fear, more plans.

I’ve shifted from running 5 miles at dawn outside to inside in the glory of our basement. I sweat and ache with the spiders as they do pull-ups, as the dust mites do crunches, and the centipedes stretch their multitude of legs.

This routine, since I was told (re-told a few times) eight weddings were coming our way in September through December, has been going on for months. Trust, it is harder than it sounds. My girl Eta though, fire smeared with airs of angelic innocence and hard knocks foundation knows my mind better than I know my own. She tells me to keep going. Eta tells me never to quit even the days when all of her checkmarks, lists, and how to’s in the world still don’t bring her peace.

Eta tells me that quitting is just wasting my time.

You know you’ll be back, so just get to it.

Eta smiles mean, but she doesn’t mean it. It is just a test to see if you’ll stay. If you can handle her, you get the world.

She makes the best coffee; will tie your left shoe if you ask her nicely. You feel unworthy, little, infantile, out-of-step as you gaze at that livened red apple hair curling down her moonish mask; a God-blush grin plagued with a heavenly stride that skates across the dawning day dusk night heavens in a peg-legged nightingale kind of way.

I said like I said, running’ every morning, 6:30 AM because nobody likes a pudgy best man. Nobody laughs as hard at someone sweating, heaving, strugglin’ as they disgorge an anecdote sprinkled with youthful revelries. No one can remedy the past, but the present can be molded in split slices. The complex movements of life can be held here, held there, but only in present flashes of awareness.

Nobody likes a permanent anchor.

Nobody likes a man in a suit without a belt.

Nobody likes a man with an untrustworthy, polka-dotted tie.

Pre-run routine: 50 pushups, 50 mountain climbers, plank for 5 min. core x 1 min. left side x 1 min. right side x 1 minute for the core.

Selling myself to myself, I, of course, had to buy. I spit on the wooden planks and watched the cold hard soak up all of the hot burnings of me.

Imagine that:

A moment to be present in, to help one live, that you yourself created through commitment.

During a quadriceps stretch, I pulled out an old, black Moleskin from my shelf. The pages had spaces with words, some with drawings, others empty. There were no replacements or future attempts at replicating her saved designs, her carefully penciled curves guided by nothing but youth and fear. They were just as I had lost them: past sketches of an affirmation of love I now cannot recall.

Mitchell Duran is a freelance writer. He earned a Master’s in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University in 2019. Find more work at

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