He gave me a big hug from her, from my friend, who is not here. And I am supposed to give Stephanie a big hug from Brad, my friend, who is not here. Tell her we miss her, he said. Do not let go so easily.
I’ll transfer. I’ll pass it on. I will not let go so easily. I’ll wear today jeans and a soft black sweater and a long green scarf and tortoise-shell sunglasses. That is the costume. That is today, walking to the park, stopping for coffee along the way, sitting in the sun if I can find it.
Already there is a chip on one of the black-striped bowls I bought Friday. I find it comforting. Already, it’s worn, already familiar.
The hallway smells of England. The brown carpet reminds me of England, and every time I come in the door, down the hall, up the long stairs, I think of it, think I am going back to it. Chamomille tea. Snickerdoodle cookies.
And there are new things too: the lights of the city driving back. At the bakery, the jar of hard brown sugar cubes to dissolve in paper cups.
We’re picking you up at four, he said.
A fan-shaped fossil I have just seen on a smooth, blue rock I have carried around with me for years.
The red tile roofs.
The four way stops.
Also, figs. The vertical driveway.
The woman in her apartment across the street came to her window the same time I came to mine, and both of us together looked down.