The day starts strong, but as afternoon slides into evening, the spirit flags. By nightfall, the old fears return, gnawing at my edges. I read. I make tea. I walk around the room three times - a talisman to ward off sadness. I sit at the edge of my bed. I stand at the window. I lie down, blink at the ceiling. Finally, I gather my things and head to my car.
I drive with the windows down and the music loud. The evening air is cool on my skin.
It is while driving that I draw up the list of the lists that I will later make:
Things that are luscious.
Things that require time and patience to master.
Things of which the mere mention open deep wells of longing.
Men who remind me of my father.
My stomach aches. I feel as though something - unknown and unknowable - is about to happen.
Things that make my stomach ache:
Speaking in front of people I don’t know. Approaching the podium, knowing that my legs will tremble. Knowing the trembling will be visible.
When someone I love is angry with me. Knowing that I have done something to make them angry. When it is an accidental thing, like being late to pick up my son, the ache passes quickly, but when it is intentional, when I act on my own selfishness at the cost of the feelings of others, the ache is nearly constant.
When I think about my eventual death, I can feel a dull aching - a mild dread of what is unknown. Will it be sudden, unexpected - like an accident on the highway, my car spinning out of control? Or will it be protracted and slow, lingering in a hospital bed, my husband, my daughter and son forced into whispered conversations in the corridors? It is hard to know what to hope for.
Hoped for things:
A long, temperate summer.
A few quiet hours for reading, for sitting still. It is too much, perhaps, to want this each day, but every few days, this delicious bit of time.
Letters from my daughter, who is far away.