They're small hills, really, these things that keep me from being truly happy, from writing. Right now they look like: finding a place to live in San Francisco. And: getting myself and my stuff there. And: saying goodbye to the ones I love. And: letting go. And: moving on. And: not getting lost.
And they don't keep me, these hills. And I will cross them. Are your legs broken? my mother used to say when I asked her to fetch something for me. Are you bleeding?
No, they're not. No, I'm not.
Today I walked to town in my red shoes and my skirt and the brown corduroy jacket I once gave my sister but she didn't wear. My hair is long and blonde. My legs are long and strong. I feel older. I feel like my mother. I feel like I could take this town. Arm to arm, I could take it if it came to that. I would win. I listened to New Order, and thought of my friends, two weeks ago, dancing. We pulled chairs into the room so we could see our backs in the dresser mirror (we are those kind of girls), and I miss them, my new friends, but I believe I will see them again. Belief is what keeps me walking. Belief is what shines my skin. Belief is what I have posted on the wall above my desk. I sat upstairs at the coffeeshop, and read poems, and overheard an awkward conversation between two teenagers on the ugly flowered couch, and I was so grateful not to be a teenager, to know what I want, to know who I am, to know what I am trying to say, even if I can't yet say it.
I have a novel which may be terrible, and poems who don't get along, but that is only the beginning of me, that is only the first.
We are all just at the beginning of our voices, just opening our mouths, and out of our mouths comes the scratch-voice of early morning, but it is only early morning. There is still time, time to say everything that needs to be said. So go on. Start to say it.
An entire city is waiting for me, and I really think an entire city is waiting for all of us, with its apartments and its post office and its gutters and its dinners and its lights and its best friends and its lovers and its children wanting love.
Hang on. I am coming as fast as I can.
IMAGINED CONVERSATION WITH THE STRUGGLING MONARCH BUTTERFLY WHO CLIMBED ONTO MY HAND IN THE GROCERY STORE PARKING LOT:
Me: Aren't you supposed to be flying to Mexico about now?
Him: Aren't you supposed to be in California, young lady?
Me: I'm working on it.
Him: I'm working on it.
Me: If I leave you here on this post, will you be okay?
Him: If I leave you here alone in this town, will you be okay?
Both of us, together: I have to be.