For example, as I'm ironing a shirt under a foggy morning. The absence of children makes it too quiet. I am back in my house, after weeks away, alone. I've been asked to steep in transience for a little too long, and in the moment there seems like no place I go that isn't borrowed.
This morning I heard one aunt is recovering from surgery. A friend's mother is recovering memories after a series of strokes, only recognizes the disaffected daughter. Another aunt wonders by text message if my mother is on the Alaskan cruise ship that had to be abandoned last night. In the headlines I have had scientifically computed for me there is, under the seemly subject of science itself, news of a 5-year old girl giving birth. The condition is called precocious puberty. Her father was arrested but released for lack of evidence. No one expects the girl to know the baby's actual father.
The gray San Francisco morning reminds me of London. I am pumping a smile and elevated energy into my students. I don't want to admit it to myself, but I am hoping quite keenly they will give some back.
On the ferry this morning, Macbeth's witches are sitting near the coffee bar, cackling, enumerating wigs and lipsticks. There are twin brothers on the deck, strapping men with thinning hair and Norse jaws. They have always lived at least one bridge apart, I imagine, so as not to warp the fabric of the world. They are glassy-eyed and built to throw javelins, mechanical Zeus replicas.
Sometimes my thoughts are so conflicted I forget the why of eating. This morning I did it anyway. It was an exercise in staving off.