She touches her window. Each finger from both hands must touch the cold glass once, pressing into it with a precise amount of pressure. If it is not the right pressure then we will just have to start over.
Right hand one, two, three, four, five.
Left hand one, two, three, four, five.
Then she rubs her fingers one by one against her thumb.
Right hand one, two, three, four.
Left hand one, two, three, four.
As she finishes her routine she gazes longingly out the window above the shiny, silver sink. The sink is rarely used. She would have to count the amount of times the dishes made a “clink” sound and that could just really be too much and we just don’t have the time for silly things and silly sounds.
Snow is steadily falling from the sky, making it look like a romantic scene straight from a cheesy, Christmas movie. We cannot watch movies though. Gosh, no. No, no. The amount of words she would have to repeat and if they didn't have the same inflection each time it would really just be quite the waste of time.
And if she looks at the snowfall for too long she will have to count. And to count the number of snowflakes falling would be far too much.
Instead, she counts the drops of water that she gives to the cactus that is propped up on the window sill. Careful not to accidentally touch any of its spines because then she would have to touch it a number of times until control and order was established and the last time that happened she ended up needing stitches.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight drops of water.
She said eight in a different tone than the rest of the numbers though, so she must start over and now the cactus has 16 drops of water but it should be okay because last week it got 40 drops of water and it’s still managing some life so she figures that it should be just fine.
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine.
Why can’t she get the emphasis to sound the same every time? This will be the word she must repeat for the rest of the day. We’ll just have to repeat it to makeup for the mistakes.
She is counting the number of times she brushes each angle of her teeth now but she thought of the word “fine” during her oral care routine and now she must start over and now her gums are bleeding but it’s fine, it’s fine, it's fine, it's fine.
She is back in the kitchen counting out her cheerios into her bowl when suddenly the sliding glass door slides wide open due to the fierce, snowy winds outside. She rushes to close it, counting her steps along the way.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.
No, no eleven is a strange number she must find another step.
Okay, it’s fine, fine, fine, fine, fine.
When she reaches the door she pushes as hard as she can against the resistance to get it to slide back into place. She times how long it takes until it snaps back into the groove on the opposite side.
One, two, three, four.
She flips the lock on the sliding glass door twelve times to match the amount of steps she took and now everything is fine, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine.
The snow has accumulated all over her low-pile maroon carpet in the tidy, mid-century styled living room.
She tries to count the drops of frost but cannot do so quickly enough. They are disappearing before she can count them and it is not fine, fine, fine, fine.
In a desperate attempt for order and control over her surroundings she begins counting the visible fibers of the carpet instead since she already has her nose buried so close to the floor anyways in her attempt at counting the melting snow.
The number is far too big, even for her and she ends up falling asleep right there on the floor, on the maroon carpet. It’s not very comfortable but I suppose it's fine, fine.
Hours go by and she suddenly starts to stir and open her eyes. She has to blink hard, as hard as she can 18 times before her eyes are of any use to the demanding world around her.
But it’s fine, fine now and she looks out the see-through sliding glass door and realizes the snow storm has stopped.
Something compels her to go back to the door that is now reflecting an icy, frozen pathway leading from her porch into the woods beyond her house.
She has tried to go on walks through the woods before but she loses count of the trees and the blades of grass and god forbid a bird sings and she cannot whistle the same tune. She was unable to eat or sleep the last time she tried to take a walk in the woods and got caught up in the disorder of the outside world.
She’s fine staying put inside. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine.
But she is being pulled to the glass doors quickly and without hesitation and at the slightest push it opens all the way almost taunting her to go outside.
She is barefoot and the only place to step is completely frozen but she goes anyway.
With a deep breath and not a number in sight, she steps onto the pathway and walks along until she meets the woods where the countless trees envelope her.
Suddenly there is a vicious sound coming from the woods and she is not counting her steps back to the house. She is frantically screaming, rather, the amount of leaps it is taking her along the frozen pathway to get to her door.
Everything is fine, fine, fine, fine now and she can go back to counting her cheerios.