Amelia wilted down the beach, bored with herself. She needed a change. She was sulky, sludgy. Perhaps, she thought, she should change her hair. She was almost positive her hair hurt. Yes, that would help. She stopped and looked out to sea, shading her eyes against the glitter on the water. Did she see…was that something moving towards her? A black spot on the horizon was steadily flinging itself in Amelia’s direction. As it grew closer, she could almost make out…it was! It was a man’s bowler hat! It was so sharply black that it looked like a hole in the air. As it sailed closer, straight and true towards Amelia’s shapely head, she could feel her future changing. Everything would be different now! She would be dapper, instead of diaphanous. She would be decisive, incisive; she would snap her fingers at people and they would take notice. She would take charge, she would – suddenly there was a flash of golden fur and Amelia got a faceful of damp sand. Henry flung himself in front of her, and snapped the hat out of the air right in front of her. Landing on the sand with a soft plop! he tossed the hat in the air, and tapped it into place on his head with one jaunty paw. Damn that dog! His sartorial greed, his elastic hind legs.
Me: Sock. Blue, with hedgehogs printed all over and purple trim around the ankle. Currently living in one-sock accommodations in a dryer lint trap. There’s only one of me, but I’m working on growing and becoming a more complete version of myself. I’m in good shape, no holes, and I have nice color and shape.
You: Running shoes slung over telephone wire, any label. I don’t care what you look like, but I want to meet someone with a sense of adventure, someone who’s not afraid to take a leap, you know? Must have sturdy laces.
I think we could really go places.
This feels too hard today. I left it late, and now I want my remaining energy for other things. This is too hard today, and I wish I didn’t have to admit that in order to cross it off.
It’s been brightly sunny and bitterly cold the last few days. I stood at my window this morning, watching the frost crystals dissolve as the heat from the radiator reached them, and I suddenly had the most vivid memory. When I was growing up, winter mornings in Vermont were very dark and very cold. My brother and I would jockey for position over the furnace vent, by far the most comfortable place to be while breakfast was cooking. It was on his side of the table, but I was older. When I stood in front of it, my long flannel nightgown would billow out, full of warm air. The thing I remembered just today is that while I stood there, warming my toes, I’d press my fingertips in a circle against the frost crystals in the windowpane to make a flower pattern. I liked the way the tiny resulting trickle of water refrosted in miniscule formations at the edge of the fingerprints. Microscopic worlds of crystals, frosted hands and warm feet and NPR on the radio and the smell of breakfast.
9:07 a.m.: An impossibly tiny boy with a downy cloud of straight black hair walks into the office with great purpose and, holding up his fingers to show me, lisps, “I found this tiny of a bug, but I wouldn’t really worry about it. It only had one leg, but it was dead, but I put it out the window.” I said, “Good job, buddy.” He nodded, and left.
Today was my second day of actual work as a substitute secretary for the school district. I’ve spent the last two days in the same school, and they have both been nine non-stop hours of work and pandemonium (pandelerium is a better word for it). I’m exhausted, and I haven’t eaten properly in two days, and all my parts hurt, but I HAD FUN. That may seem really strange for two days that included a 911 call and the gushingest bloody nose I’ve ever seen in my entire life and one student injury report and no lunch or bathroom breaks, and I can’t even tell you how many phone calls, but it’s true. I missed this. This is a completely different animal from the job I had at New Trier, but it bears enough similarity that I felt at home even in a completely new environment. I don’t want to do this all day every day anymore, but golly I’m good at it, and it can be so fun.
This was an elementary school, so the kids were much younger than I’m used to and they are hilarious and so sweet. One boy came into the office no less than five times in two days to report on stuff that was in the urinal in the boys’ bathroom across the hall. “Um, there’s a pencil in the urinal.” “Ok, darlin’, I’ll tell the custodian.” “Ok, but actually? I’m a boy.”
I’m too tired to blog any further than this tonight, but I’ve had a pretty great two days. I’m feeling much less nervous about this job, and I’m looking forward to more stories. Maybe next week, after I’ve caught up on my sleep and bathroom breaks.