**Felix Culpa translates to “happy fault” in Latin – or rather, something disastrous that turns into something positive.**
It’s fall; the season after winter, before summer. The beginning of November. Everything that I see outside of my kitchen window, including the other apartment buildings and the dead grass and the construction piles and the fashion choices of people I later spy on the subway platforms, matches the coffee in my cup. A medium, bright brown.
The last sips of coffee are rare for me – there’s never, ever enough time to drink an entire cup, nor can I handle it – but I drank it down this time, and I’m relishing it. If it’s sweet I let it sit on my tongue for a moment before I swallow. And this cup is delicious down to the very last drop, but I’m feeling guilty. I haven’t prayed and it’s time to go. I shouldn’t be standing here in the window drinking coffee, not if it means I drink coffee instead of praying. It was prayer that delivered me out of my troubles and it is prayer that will sustain me.
But hey, I’ll pull it together tomorrow. Let’s do this, Day! (And that my friends, is the coffee talking.)
Here we go. Out into the world. Headphones: are in. Music: is on. Life: is GOOD.
I open my door into Brooklyn and walk to the tunnel. I get on the train and from there the commute is somewhat taxing, but not for a pro like me – that seat’s mine unless you’re wearing nursing shoes, look pregnant or have a cane. I rest, listen to a TD Jakes podcast and examine my perfectly manicured nails. I exit the train, taking the stairs one by one until I slant backwards from the climb and peer up into the light. There in the light I can make out the shapes of people and garbage cans, the best parts about this place and the most necessary too. And I emerge into Manhattan, the red corvette of cities.
My walk says ‘I’m good’. My talk says ‘I’m good’. And this sweater, which I only paid $40 for from Banana Republic, echoes how good I feel inside. When wearing it around new people I’m prone to say: “Feel this… no seriously feel this! Is that not the best thing you’ve ever felt before!?” I know a few who rolled their eyes.
I’m so giddy. God has delivered me from peril while bestowing upon me more wisdom, more grace, more ability and more confirmation once again. I give you my living witness and testimony that He who we call God does in fact exist, for how else do you explain the health, love and prosperity that surrounds me on this fall day after an especially challenging past few months? Let me remind you that I lost (in a way) 2 jobs, 1 grandfather, 1 appendix, lots of hair while running that family reunion and gained some weight. No bueno.
So on this day, yes, I celebrate the newly found strength and mental positivity and TIGHT BUTT and the new job – at the most iconic dance company ever (and I’ll fight you on this) – and the harvest of good feelings that I have for my husband and our home and our future. He’s still the one. For this brief moment of time, everything is ok and I feel whole. On my walk to work, I practice gratitude and mumble in tongues and breathe in cool air and I celebrate… because this is today’s promised land.
The most interesting thing to happen in that first week of the month is that my friend – just a random person that I know so don’t even try to guess – calls me to say he or she needs to pass a drug test. At first I’m not sure how to respond to the call because WHAT THE HECK, why are you calling me? Being the person that someone else calls when they need to pass a drug test is either the biggest compliment of your big brain or the biggest clue that you really lived it up in your 20’s. It’s like saying: “Hey, I know a lot of degenerates, but you’re the most qualified to answer this question.”
For the record, I’ve never even taken a drug test thank you very much. Like a true child of the 80s, I know that this is your brain—and THIS (frying egg scenario) is your brain on drugs. But who am I kidding? “Of course I can help you,” I say without really knowing if that’s true.
We spend the next 30 minutes of that phone call with me drawing up a plan. The friend is focused on getting a clean urine sample from anyone who’d be willing to give it, and although I think this is the worst solution, I quickly draw up a list of 6-7 people that I believe can and would be willing to:
- Pass the drug test – Be cautious when selecting your willing party, because the last thing you would want to discover is that Mom or Dad or Mr. Baskins the Phys Ed teacher is not so straight-edge. Even heavy alcohol is risky, you just never know.
- Pay approximately $60-$90 for the cost of shipping urine through FedEx – A quick Google search shows high prices. Also shows you’re not supposed to ship urine.
- Keep this absolutely secret – And that includes lying to the police or the postal service if they spill the contents of your box.
I get ruled out immediately because I’ve been taking strong pain killers up until recently as a result of the surgery. We both agree there’s no point in taking that chance. I’m also unwilling to do #2, but I don’t mention that to my friend at the time.
It occurs to me now that I should’ve followed up to see how things turned out, but I didn’t. I went back to living my best life filled with crazy, hilarious friends. And loving all of it.
And it was very, very short-lived.