I Might Have a Problem

Our parade of Target shopping carts a few weeks ago.  I love parades.

This is the last time I'm going to talk about this.

I promise.

(Let's be honest, I am probably not going to keep that promise.  Ask me if I care.)

Today I got a notice from paypal that said I didn't have enough money in my account to pay for those new drapes I just ordered.  (I thought you were my pal, paypal.  What gives?)  And that is when it hit me that I may have a problem.

I am so good at spending money.  (That is not the problem.)  Over the last month I have been trying to get this place to feel like home.  And houses need all kinds of things like towels and wastebaskets and floral arrangements and ceramic pots that remind me of Jacob's well.  Houses need pictures and mattress pads and shelves and tablecloths and baskets to store the tablecloths in.  They need paint and pillows and fans and about four thousand 3M command strips.  They need chairs and rugs and curtains and refrigerator doors full of soy sauce and ketchup and salad dressing.  In the last month I have done what I could to generously provide.  (I am good at spending money, remember?)

David, for his part, has generously tried to look the other way.  Except when I am showing him paint samples, and then he tries to look supportive rather than alarmed.  (No one said marriage was easy.)

But today when I read that paypal was more interested in the pay part than the pal part, I realized that my problem may be trying to fill a hole that cannot be filled with all this decorating and organizing and beautifying.  A hole that cannot be filled because the hole is not in the house, but in me.

Because today it occurred to me that I am homesick.

The Parade of Homes Inside a Whale

For what it's worth, this post has been published and unpublished a number of times now.  I still think it never quite got "there," but maybe that's the point.  Mercy.  Even for the badly-crafted post.

I had that dream again.

But first...I got up.  I pretended to make breakfast.  I read about Alma with my children, and then slurred my way through an explanation of how he was related to the people who crossed the Red Sea on dry land.  I knelt in a circle and prayed.  I put the hair up (no doubt it will be hot again today).  I put a private message on every body's lunch sack.  I sat next to Savannah and listened as she recited rhymes about the piano bass clef.  I stood by the door.  I double checked lunches and water bottles.  I kissed and well-wished.

And then I went back to bed.

David had already made it, but he told me to lay down anyway and take a nap.  At least half an hour he said.

Yesterday was a long day.  It started very early and ended very late and plus I was the star of the show most of the day.  Yeah, you read that right.  THE STAR of the show, I'm telling you.  It was all adrenalin and nerves most of the day, and then afterward it was driving across the dark desert in the middle of an Alabama-worthy rainstorm, which is a highly-technical coordination of brights and wipers and keeping my eyes on the yellow line.  (It is very wearing to be THE STAR with no personal driver.)  

And so this morning, I had that dream again.

The one where we live in that huge house we have to renovate.  And every time I have the dream there are more rooms in it...more rooms with walls as tall as cathedrals, all with peeling, atrocious paint.  Today I dreamed I was sleeping in this absolute mess of a house--different flooring in every room, peeling mauve paint on all the walls, black-grouted tile, decorations of carousel ponies in three of the living rooms--when the parade-of-homes people came by to decorate my house.  They were stunned at the state of things and started telling me all these things I was going to have to do to make the place acceptable.  I walked into the dining room and thought, "Okay, I could scrape these walls down and repaint in here today," and then I walked around the corner and I saw another room, and beyond that another room, and beyond that another room, and beyond that a whole other floor that I didn't even know existed.  I sat down.  Worn out by the thought of it.

If we ever have the chance to buy this house in real life, I'm totally going to think twice.

I only have this dream when I'm so exhausted and simultaneously so aware of my own failings and inadequacies, that all my mess gets translated into walls and flooring and bad paint as high and as deep as a mountain. 

Last night, as we were drifting off in the dark and the day was swirling around me, David said, "You know you're amazing, right?"  I didn't answer because the truth was choking me.  "Have you seen this room?"  I wanted to say.  "Have you seen this one?  And that's nothing.  There are rooms beyond those, and rooms beyond those, and whole floors beyond those."  No amount of amazing is ever going to cover all that territory.

Yesterday we nearly drowned with Jonah in Sunday School.  We swam the depths with him.  I felt myself swallowed whole with him, weeds encompassed about my head, buried as deep as the bottoms of the mountains.  At the moment of great alarm he remembered the Lord.  Alma had the exact same experience this morning in our family room, when he was in the gall of bitterness.  Apparently there's a lot of that going around.

Today I noticed that the very same word appears in both stories.  Mercy.


The truth is, I'm a dead ringer for Jonah.  Drowning.  In need of a whale.  (Send help.)  Slow to remember.  Even slower to extend the same mercy I receive to others. 

I heard a story about Elder Hanks as I was preparing my lesson.  He was speaking about a verse in Micah that says, "what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"  And then Elder Hanks said, "My specialty is mercy."

I wish my specialty was mercy.

My specialty is closer to hard-hearted, stiff-necked.  Slightly less desirable, no?

After yesterday, I've decided to make my specialty mercy. 

Note to heaven:  I may need a little help with that.  You may have to send another whale. 

Or two.

Nice Work If You Can Get It

This morning I woke up to the sounds of industry.

My husband, already in his shirt and tie and smelling like aftershave and soap (delicious), leaned over me and nudged my shoulder with his lips, "Just so you know, the lawn crew is here."

I could hear the lawnmower and the trimmers going.  He was giving me fair warning: Don't walk outside naked this morning and also, ahem, it might be time to get up.

I heard him start his car and the sounds of the garage door going up and down.  I rolled over and tried to sleep.  But it is very hard to sleep to the sounds of industry.  Sounds of industry smell like guilt to me.  (Which I can smell a mile away.)

I am in the last week of summer and it is a little like purgatory.  Can't go backward.  Don't want to go forward.  Limbo in my head, dread in my stomach, sludge in my blood, terror in my heart. 

David keeps telling me, "You know we had an amazing summer, right?  I mean, you know, right?"  He's making sure I know how lucky I am, telling me that I have nothing to complain about, reminding me that in my wildest dreams I couldn't imagine a better summer.  (And don't forget, he says with his flirty eyebrows, I provided it.  Don't worry darling, I am very good at showing my appreciation.) 

The thing is, I know that.  I really do.  It was amazing.  But that didn't stop me from crying myself to sleep last night.  Because even though it was the summer to end all summers, it's still almost over.

Insert swear word here.

And yet, the sounds of industry are all around me, nudging me back to work, back to school, back to schedule, back to getting up before eight.  And the guilt is close behind, telling me I have to do more in a day than slather sunscreen on my children's gorgeous, growing bodies or braid the girls' hair or go boogie boarding with my boys and wash the sand out of our suits at night. 

A couple of days ago I spent the day at the mall with my girls.  I sat across from them, sharing an orange julius while they chattered excitedly about the new year and new teachers and piano lessons and the first chair seat in the viola section.  And I wished I could be as excited as them.

But I could only stare at their suntanned, freckled, beaming faces and wish that it was just the beginning of June.

Or at the very least, that they could take me with them.

In one week, this house is going to be very quiet.

RIM thinks I should get motivated, make a plan, write out a schedule, get busy and accomplish a few things.  CIM just stares at the wall, lost in thought, lost in space, lost again. 

Because the truth is, when my kids walk out that door in less than a week, there is a part of me that feels like my purpose will walk out with them. 

RIM thinks that's ridiculous.  CIM just shrugs.  Because ridiculous or not, it's also true.

I had a full-time job rubbing sunscreen on shoulders and cheeks and ears and the tender lines of scalp where the braids were parted.  It was a very good job.  And I was very good at it.  And have you ever seen me boogie board?  I am like a professional.  I really am.

And well, damn, I really hate job-hunting.

P.S.  The nice shot of my very fine cleavage is a just a bonus to this post.  You're welcome.

The Oyster Bed, For Now

It is an oyster, with small shells clinging to its humped back.  Sprawling and uneven, it has the irregularity of something growing.  It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition after another to hold its teeming life...It amuses me because it seems so much like my life at the moment, like most women's lives in the middle years of marriage.  It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and...firmly embedded on its rock.

It is a physical battle first of all, for a home, for children, for a place in their particular society.  In the midst of such a life there is not much time to sit facing one another over a breakfast table.

--Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea, pg. 74-75

I have been preparing for today for two weeks.  Nesting, I suppose.  I've been dreaming about it for even longer.  The children are coming home.  There will be time, once again, for staring at each other over the breakfast table.

Oh, joyful day.

During all my preparations, the cleaning and organizing and sewing and refinishing, my mind has been thinking.  Mostly about Lindbergh's oyster bed, the sprawling, heavily encrusted, humped-back oyster shell I live in, and the year I have just survived clinging to my rock.

I thought about it when I cleaned out the drawers and make a stack of all the children's clothes that no longer fit.

I thought about it when I filed the drawings my children had made before they could make letters.

I thought about it when we sorted through the toys they had outgrown and no longer use.

I thought about it when I sanded the finish off the chairs of our first real dining set that we bought before Savannah was born.

I thought about it when I took the teddy bears off the boys' shelves to make room for the certificates and plaques and baseball trophies.

And I thought about it when I folded up the winter quilts and put out fresh summer pillows on the couch.

The world has gone around its axis one more time.  

And I am feeling dizzy. 

Grateful, but also reeling, I watched my children walk out the door this morning and I'll admit I was a little melancholy.  Too much pondering, perhaps.  I told David that I needed to talk, but he had to go--to provide, to secure our place on the rock.

My children are coming home today.  They are coming home for the summer.  And they will come home for a few more summers after this one, maybe a dozen, if I'm lucky.  But I can see that one day they won't, that my summers staring at them across the breakfast table are limited and precious.  This year amid the spelling tests and math facts and tricky letter "e," I taught my oldest daughter how to shave her armpits and my nearly teenage son learned how to talk to girls.

I can feel the earth turning under my feet.

Three days ago I went to the bookstore and spent all of my birthday gift cards and some of my grocery money on books for my children's summer reading.  It was a sizable stack and when I got to the counter the woman said, "Wow.  Are you a teacher?"

I said, "No, I am a mother."

She looked up at me, surprised.

"I am a mother."

And I said it all the way to the car.  I am a mother.  I am a mother.  I am a mother.  And my time has come. 

I'm in the oyster bed, for now.  Lovely, crazy, wild, busy, teeming, untidy, exhausting, perfect oyster bed.  And we have made it, again, to summer, when the sprawling, spreading life stops for a few glorious months and it's just us.  Just us--across the breakfast table, across the game board, across the country.  With all the time in the world.

At least, that is what I am telling myself this morning.

Conversations and Visions From My Bed

I was going to do a quick, effervescent post about my Thanksgiving preparations.  About the 12 cups of shortening chilling in the refrigerator waiting to become pie...(lots of pie, apparently.)  About the scrubbing and the shopping and the aprons I washed and pressed this morning for the occasion, the occasion of one the greatest weeks of the year for domestic goddesses everywhere.  There would have been mention of National Clean Out Your Fridge Day last Thursday and how I didn't clean out mine and how I regretted it yesterday and how it is a terrible thing to live with regret.  And how today I wore my Superman shirt under my apron so the kitchen would know who's boss.

And you would have enjoyed it.

But I have something else entirely coming out.  Don't worry.  You'll probably enjoy it, too.

The talk in our bed lately has been about the coming holidays.  As we're drifting off and slowly waking there is talk about lights and gifts and cards and decorating and budgets.  Last night I was listing the flaws in the current version of the Christmas CD we are giving to our friends and neighbors, the songs that have to go and the songs that just have to be on it regardless of what anyone thinks of us afterwards.  (The integrity of our holiday music mix must be preserved afterall.  We have a reputation to uphold.)  And this morning as I awoke, I told David that I received an email that our Christmas cards had shipped and he said, "Well you know what that means..." and then said the rest of it with his eyebrows, which was all about how I need to get writing and how he was nervous about this but was doing his best to keep it to himself and wasn't I proud of his effort. 

And lately I have been sighing inwardly that this is how it will be (waking and sleeping) for the next thirty days or so, despite my deep need for it to be different this year. 

Every year I think, "Next year will be different."  And every year it isn't.

So far this year has been no exception.  I started having actual nightmares about Christmas Eve in early October.  I have earnestly tried to "do less" and "simplify," thinking that will make it different, but honestly it doesn't fundamentally change the way we prepare and celebrate the holidays.  It just makes me anxious that "less" won't be "enough."  I have also tried to "do it early" but somehow this only seems to prolong the process.  There needs to be a change at the heart of it all.    

Early Monday morning I dreamed that David and I were at a beach house.  He was smiling at me under the sheets, and the sunlight was streaming through the windows setting the white sheets ablaze in light.  His skin was glowing like resurrection morning.  His eyes were pure love beaming up at me.

I woke up breathless, blinded by light and beauty and a feeling of overwhelming contentedness.

This morning under the covers I thought about that dream again.  I thought about how there has to be a better way.  A way full of light and love and contentedness.  I thought about how afterall that was the whole point of the birth we are so madly celebrating.  I thought about how tired I am already and how many lists I've made already and how I want to give up already.  I thought about those blazing sheets and resurrection morning and the love of my life.  And I thought about how to create a space big enough for that, for each one of my darlings.  Big enough that they can each be overwhelmed by love.

When I told David about the dream I said, "That's what I want for Christmas."

He asked, "A beach house?"


Confused, "No?"

"I want that feeling.  All that light and joy and love spilling out of our eyes and our fingertips and our windows and our doors."

He nodded, relieved, I think, that I did not want a beach house.  But I was less relieved.  Because I am good at fighting.  I am good at anxiety.  I am good at grudges and blowing things out of proportion.  (Boy, am I.)  I am good at stress and short answers and rushing through my days for the sake of a list.  I am good at missing the good stuff.

I want light and love and resurrection morning.  I want it all month long. 

Is this too much to ask?  Perhaps.  Especially given my considerable talent for the opposite.  But I'm asking anyway.  I can see why all that white, delicious fruit was so appealing to Lehi.  I am after a basketful of it myself.  I want light and love and resurrection morning dripping from my chin.

Let's eat.

Lost in Translation

This morning I was paying the bills and stretching the budget.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul and all kinds of creative accounting.  It was exciting.

David came in to tell me that he was taking a conference call and he would be unavailable from eight to eight thirty.

I stared at him, trying to translate.

It was something like:

"I'm taking a conference call so don't come in and loudly ask me to kill a scorpion or a mouse or where all the money went or if I can put the dishes in before I leave, and especially don't let Adele do her morning serenade.  That could be embarrassing.  I just need you to really try and be independent and solve your own problems without bothering me for the next thirty minutes.  Do you think you can do that?"

Which did not seem very nice, and which made me want to pick a fight but he had a conference call and I was exhausted, so I let it go.  (Well, not really...given that I am still talking about it.)

Now it could be that my translator is off.  But let's be honest, that seems unlikely.

The real problem of course is that I used to be capable.  And instead of wondering what is wrong with me lately (I'm thinking brain tumor), it's easier to be offended by the fact that David has clearly noticed the change.  When did I get so easily overwhelmed by my life?  When did everything become so hard?  How long have I been so tired I can hardly think? 

I keep thinking that my life is going to sort itself out, that my new path and purpose are going to reveal themselves to me, but I am as lost today as I was in August, four months ago.  I keep telling myself that it shouldn't be this hard, that I am in charge of my own life, but it's not helping.  I feel like an ex-con who is suddenly terrified by freedom, by a life without restrictions, and is ultimately more comfortable in prison and so he commits a crime just to feel safe and structured again. 

And you thought I was kidding about the brain tumor.  What else could it be?  Low blood sugar?  Anemia?  Hypothyroidism?  A B-12 deficiency?  Outright insanity?

The truth is I don't need a CAT scan, or a sandwich, or a nap, or a couple of pints of A+ blood.  (Though I wouldn't say no to any of them, especially the nap and the blood.)

What I really need is a little revelation, my own personal urim and thummim, with maps and directions for this strange new land.  The sooner the better.  (Preferably before I turn to life a crime.) 

And as an added benefit, traditionally urim and thummims also translate languages.  David should be delighted.

For Comfort in the Strife

Do you want to know a secret?

Sometimes I don't know what my own brain is thinking.

(I know what you're thinking, but just hush.  Let me at least pretend that was a secret.)

Most days when I go to write a post it's not because I have something to say, but because I need to know what I'm thinking.  (And here you thought it was all for you.)  I can't understand my own brain unless I write it out.  I have all these thoughts and stories tumbling around in there and I know it's trying to tell me something important but dang if I know what it is, and so I tell myself, "I need to write."  And (usually) by the end of the post, I go, "Oh.  That's brilliant."  And I can clearly see what it was I was trying to tell myself.

(I try to put heavy emphasis on the "brilliant" part, as it makes me feel marvelous.)

This morning I am walking around my house with my hair in a messy bun feeling a little lost.  Walking from room to room but not seeing the breakfast dishes on the countertop or the unmade beds or the piles of hair ties and smeared toothpaste in the bathroom sinks, because I know I need to write and sort the mess in my head first.  I tell you this to give you fair warning.  The rest of this could be a bit sketchy.  Then again, there is a very good chance it will be brilliant.  (I don't know about you, but I suddenly feel marvelous.)

Last night David was looking at me across the pillow.  I had my arms folded across my chest in lieu of words.  I was making a point, see?  He ignored my arms and sent me a message with his eyes and then I smiled, despite myself.

He said, "Do you know what I'm thinking?  I was sending you a message."

I said of course and rolled my eyes because I always know what he is thinking and he should stop being surprised at that.

"What was I thinking?"

"That you wanted to kiss me."

He laughed because I was right of course.

I said, "First tell me about your day."

"And then we can kiss?"


And then he told me about his day.  One of the worst in his career.  And we talked for a couple of hours.  As he talked I repented.  Because he hadn't come home to dinner and a smile.  And after a day like that, he deserved to.

As he was winding down, he said, "And then I came home and,"

I interrupted, "And there was no dinner on the table."

And he said, "I didn't need dinner.  Just comfort."

That is what marriage is after all.  Comfort in the wilderness.

Yesterday morning I was in the kitchen making Ethan's lunch.  I drew a picture on his paper lunch sack.  (Our little tradition, a stick-figure message for him in the middle of the day.)  He looked at me and said, "I'm glad you're here, Mom."

I grinned at him and said thanks.

He said, "Dad could keep us alive, but I'm glad you're here."

I wasn't sure if I should feel happy or sad at that.

Last night after David had exhausted his story and rehearsed his sorrows I was quiet for a while.  He turned out the lights and it was dark in our room.  I said, "If our life was a musical I would sing you a song right here."

"Like what?"

I sang the first verse of "Tomorrow" from Annie.  Yes, I really did.  And he didn't stop me, so I kept going.

"When I'm stuck with a day

that's gray

and lonely

I just stick out my chin,

and grin,

and say..."

I stopped then, fearing I had gone too far.  He kissed me and said, "You didn't do the chorus."

We sang it together then.  I'm not even kidding. 

In the middle of the night, the house quiet and still except for our soulful tribute to "tomorrow," which would surely be better than today.  We belted out the last line and even slowed down the last notes for a big, emotional finish.  And then everything was quiet again, and the air was heavy and full like something important had just happened.

David thanked me for the serenade and we smiled at each other even though it was dark.

Both of us, I think, comforted.

And now, another not-so-secret secret.  I've been struggling the last couple of months for purpose and place.  And how to navigate my new world of long, quiet hours.  Struggling to feel useful and joyful and necessary, to find meaningful work.

Perhaps I am here only for the comfort now.  Perhaps it is as Ethan says, that they could all keep themselves alive but it's good I'm around anyway.  For comfort.  For stick-figures on brown paper bags.  For serenades by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin in the middle of the night.  For my ear and my heart, rather than my hands.  For comfort in the strife.

And you know, it's not a bad job.

Epiphanies You May or May Not Want to Read

[The other day my sister told me, more or less, that my blog was just the same thing over and over again.  This post is about entropy and the return to school and my long-standing insecurities, all of which I have written about "ad nauseum," apparently.  So if you have something better to do than revisiting these themes yet again, go do them.  Otherwise, don't say I didn't warn you.]

This morning we went for a swim.  Trying to beat the sun to the pool.

On the way, the conversation turned to entropy.  And then to the fall and the resurrection.  And then, naturally, to the after-life, and the kids surmised about houses and babies in heaven.  I had to steer us back.

"We're not talking about the next life.  We're talking about this life.  And in this life there is the law of entropy."

The kids all groaned.

Because they know what's coming next.  A conversation that will turn into a day of fishing stuff out from under the beds.  And that's just for starters.

But after the swim, I was in the shower asking David to admit that living with me is hard, and that in addition to my many character faults, entropy currently has the upper hand in our house.

He refused.  (He's good like that.)

And then he said, "I don't care what you do.  I just want you to be happy."

I started to get emotional, but stopped myself just in time.  "But if I'm happy, what will that say about me?"

He looked at me.  Clearly mystified.

But in my head it goes something like this:  I live in a fallen world (remember all those briars and noxious weeds?), which requires toil and sweat and, yes, most of the time, tears.  And if you're doing it right, it means you're right down in the weeds mucking out your salvation.  And the harder you work and the more it hurts, the better the salvation.  Or, something like that.  Or maybe it's the harder you work and the more it hurts, the better the person you are.  (It's twisted either way.)

And for me, all of that gets mixed in with the return to school, which for the first time, this year will include all of my children leaving for the entire school day.  And not only do I feel that loss very keenly, I also feel like I will no longer be earning my keep.  (To say nothing of my salvation.)

I tried again, "The summer is one thing.  I can enjoy it because I'm with my children.  And the enjoyment of it is part of my nurturing of them.  Part of the job, see?  But if I enjoy my regular life, it means I'm not working hard enough, I'm not giving enough back, just taking up space."

And then he just sighed.  And kissed me.  Because he was long overdue at work and my issues are too big to resolve during his shave.  And like he said, he only wants me to be happy.

Why is that so hard?  Because what will it say about me?  That I'm more hedonist than pioneer?  That I'm more selfish than sacrificing?  That I'm more spoiled than deserving?  That I am more prodigal than saint?

That is, in fact, the case.

And maybe that's it.  That I'm bothered that this truth is finally about to be revealed to the world.  That it was only a show after all, and now I am about to be exposed.  I made it look hard in order to be worthy, carrying the burdens on my back as proof of my value.  I made my life seem like a sacrifice so that I would be worth the sacrifice.  Of feeding and clothing me. 

And, especially, of saving me.

And there it was.  The stumbling block to my happiness.  It was me all along.  My fight against entropy.  My fight to build the facade.  My fight to be enough.

I will never be worthy of the beauty and magic in my life.  Of love, of salvation, of redemption.  Of any of it.

But it is there anyway.

And I'm out of fight.  I only want happy now.

And maybe if I'm not brave enough to choose happy, at least now maybe I am tired enough not to choose fight.  And then maybe I will get happy by default. 

And I'm not picky. 

I'll take it any way I can get it.

One Day of Summer

The moon followed us home last night.

We went to a movie for an impromptu date-night.  After pasta, with the dishes still on the table, we ran to make the 7:45 showing.

We saw

and if you want to have a really good time, you'll go see it too.

(You're welcome.)

And then I watched the half-moon follow us home from my car window.

And thought about how many ways there are to tell a story.

(If you go see that movie you'll know what I mean.  You're welcome, again.)

And then I lay in bed next to David and after five days at Girl's Camp remembered to be grateful for my bed and my husband and my circa 1988 shower, and then I reviewed my day.

We started cleaning the house, but got distracted cleaning out the drawers for the looming school year.  The process was interrupted when I realized we needed a few drawer organizers, but didn't have the heart to face the heat and run to Target.  As we sorted through candy wrappers and crumpled book marks and shoes that no longer fit, I asked the kids about their activities in the fall.  Which required a trip to the internet.  By then, everyone was hungry and so I went to the cupboards, but they were bare except for craisins and stale croutons and a sticky jar of nutella.  So we stopped everything while I showered and went to the store.  I very nearly melted by the time I brought in the groceries and felt amazing for just getting them put away.  So I rested a bit and moved the laundry one more station and helped the girls start an art project.  By then it was time to start dinner and I listened to Adele with my apron on while the sausage and onions browned in my pan.  Ethan talked me into a game of Go Fish and then David was home.

Before I went to bed I went around and kissed my children in the dark.  The vacuum was still out and the contents of all the drawers sat in little piles around their rooms.  The laundry was only half done and all of it unfolded.  The bathrooms never got started and the floors still made sticky noises when I walked across them.  The dinner dishes sat in the kitchen sink and the detritus from the bottom of everyone's backpack was in a sad little pile on the counter. 

He asked me how I was feeling.

I said, "It's complicated."

"Meaning what?"

"Meaning you have an early meeting in the morning and so you don't have time to hear it all."

"Can you give me the gist?"

"No.  I'd have to sort it all out first."

He gave up then and started kissing me. 

But it's something like this:

The fall is coming.  If not on the thermometer, then on the calendar.  And with it, my doubts are returning.  My inadequacies.  My worries.  The questioning and disdainful voices in my head.  And yes, my regrets.  They are returning from their summer holiday.  I can hear them rearranging the drawers in my head.  Making room.  Leaving freedom and hedonism and possibility and joy and confidence in a grubby little pile on the shelves of my memory.

What, too maudlin for a Wednesday morning?

I'm just getting started.  (David was right to interrupt me with kissing.)

I only have 13 days left.

And that seems very unlucky, indeed.