60,001 to be precise.
Instead of celebrating, I am filled with dread, dread for the papers coming in like snowfall, dread for the upheaval of summer, its boxes, its moves. I am making soup, eating the small corners off crackers. I am wearing scarves, looking out of eastward windows.
I expect trouble. I expect change.
Last night I was sick. It started several years ago, the night before I was to drive to a writers’ conference. I would spend ten hours in a car with a stranger, only to meet more strangers; I would come home a day before my new job, my first job, started. My body said no way. I watched the black and white squares in the bathroom dance. I waited for dawn. I thought I was dying.
What the mind can do. It can make you forget, make you remember, make you sick when you are well but don’t want to be. What I want is to wake up like Sarah in A Little Princess to a satin quit and slippers and something warm to eat--the world, in other words. What I want is to believe myself a certain way—long straight hair and unwrinkled clothing and bank accounts and books—and make it so by pure believing. Insistence! My will: the sky opens up.
When I was a child, I thought I would have a book by sixteen, a husband and child by twenty-one. Time moves fast but not that fast. Everything sped up in my head. The world went by. I was a teenager before I realized that face in the mirror would not change; we are not clay to be shaped and remade.
But still. Who knows what story we are meant to tell? I feel that I have left that path, walked out into world via the long gravel drive.
Some clouds are coming and I feel that I will meet them.