Leave the apartment. There is sunshine and crepes and a woman in Jackie O shades walking a poodle, and a small dark-skinned girl with a black bob and red dress, eating a corn dog, and a curly-haired boy coming home from the bus stop who swatted the flies from his eyes and then smiled.
The kids drink cream sodas after school, and the cook doesn’t make them pay, says: say hi to your father for me. How is your father? Sick, the boys say.
Learn how to say thank you and please and excuse me and hi in Spanish and French. You knew it once. Maybe Chinese. Your sister knows.
Write a letter, one a day, to someone you love. Everyone you love is somewhere else now, but not forever.
Just because everyone else drives like a maniac does not mean you have to drive like a maniac.
Don’t drink so much coffee. You have the tolerance of a child. A small child who can’t drink coffee.
Don’t be afraid to ride the bus. Once you were happy and lived in England and rode the bus. Is this coincidence? Ride the damn bus.
Talk to strangers.
Accept rides from friends.
Don’t turn around when you hear a whistle.
What are those purple flowers, smashed on the sidewalk?
Your job is to write. Your job is to live. Your job is to use this time. Your mother never had this time. Your friends don’t have this time. You will not always have this time.
Find out about those purple flowers.
Don’t spend money on your apartment. Your apartment is a collection of other’s gifts: the couch, the coffee table. Your apartment is a series of: look what we found, look what was given. You don’t have the money to decorate your room, and who cares? It is only a room, a white square where you sleep. You won’t spend your time there.
The world is your room now.