I have bought myself a hula hoop.
It is aqua blue with silver threads. It is just the right size. It cost four and a half dollars at the store where I was buying responsible things, like an emergency blanket for my car. It is utterly perfect. I tried it, and it all came back, this business of hula hooping, this business of balancing, maybe better than before, now that I have hips for the hoop to swerve on.
Yesterday I went swimming in a cold green lake, after much persuasion from an eleven year-old girl. It's not that cold, I promise, she said. It was, and she lied, but I went all the way in. I swam out past the children, past the shallows. I like deep water, water with no hope. I like to stay in as long as I can, longer, treading, reminding myself how to live, that I can live.
It no longer matters what happens. Where I move, where I live, who loves me or doesn't love me. I have so much to do, so much I don't know. But there are green shoots sprouting from the spilled corn on the railroad tracks--really-- and I am happy.
I wrote yesterday at a picnic table in the sun, then swam, then we ate peanut butter ice cream from the camp store, my friend and I. Walking back, I said how much I loved this.
It might not always be there for you, he said, going to study the map.
I think I'm going to enjoy it while I can, I said.
The very fact of your enjoying it means it will run out, he said. Someone else might like it, too.
I don't think so, I said. I don't think there is anyone else like me. I think I am the only one like me in the world.
What will we say about this, years from now? This is the summer it was hot, and the power popped off. This is the summer my freckles came back, a constellation of stars, and my hair grew wild and golden. The summer I swam in strange lakes. The summer I went to movies in the middle of the day, entertained hikers with stories from my head, planned parties in my earth-spotted backyard, said goodbye to friends. The summer I wrote things and they happened: like the power, like that.
This is the summer I became a girl who finished a book, who hula-hooped one hundred consecutive times. At least I plan to try.