I will do as you said. I will buck up. I will button down. I will not be self-conscious. Whenever I feel like looking, I will look away. Whenever I feel like giving up, I will lick an envelope, I will give a poem or two or five away in the mail. I will make the corrections on my book. Cracking open its spine is like breaking a tiny bone I didn’t even know I had.
Yesterday, I had a long conversation. When I hung up the phone, it was late in the afternoon, cold and bright. I wrapped up in a sweater, and walked to the park, and spread a blanket on the dry, yellow grass overlooking the canyon, and finished a Victorian novel. I ordered Indian food from Spicy Bite (not too spicy): naan, and vegetarian samosas, and peas and cheese, and rice.
Today, I took the subway downtown and brought two leotards: one black, one red. I took my first dance class in ten years, since my leg snapped in half, and a large bearded stranger carried me out to an ambulance and into a different kind of life; I was crying about my expensive tights.
This time I bought footless ones, just in case.
I think I remember grace, but I do not remember movements. I have the arms. I have the tilt of the head, the back, the legs, the line, but not the muscles, not the strength.
I used to worry, if I did not write for months, a week, a year, I would forget how.
I am here to tell you: no. The body remembers. The body goes on. The body goes back.
The worst part is driving there. The worst part is parking. The worst part is walking a few blocks in the freezing dark, and opening the door, and taking off your skirt and street shoes. Then there is a woman whose language—Chinese and French—you only partially understand, only every sixth or seventh word. Then there is music, recorded piano, and next door, vibrations through the wall from the flamenco class, the rumble of the streetcars, sirens, smell of chalk.
Then there is the mirror and you in it, the window across from your desk with you in it, the notebook with you in it, the stories, the poems, with you in it.
And then you fly.