Over and over, I read the pages of the book I'd written as a young man. It was so long ago. I was naïve. A twenty-year-old in love. A swollen heart and I had to match. I thought I could do anything. Strange as that may seem, now that I've done all I'm going to do.
I used to think that if I had a choice between writing well and living well, I would choose the former. But now I think that's sheer lunacy. Writing weighs so much less, in the great cosmic equation, than living.
Only later did I come to understand that to be a mother is to be an illusion. No matter how vigilant, in the end a mother can't protect her child - not from pain, or horror, or the nightmare of violence, from sealed trains moving rapidly in the wrong direction, the depravity of strangers, trapdoors, abysses, fires, cars in the rain, from chance.
Where he saw a page of words, his friend saw the field of hesitations, black holes, and possibilities between the words. Where his friend saw dappled light, the felicity of flight, the sadness of gravity, he saw the solid form of a common sparrow.
Alone in my room, wrapped in a blanket, I whimpered and talked aloud to myself, recalling the lost glory of my youth when I considered myself, and was considered by others, a bright and capable person. It seemed that was all gone now.
For Chanukah I asked for a sleeping bag. The one of my mother got me had pink hearts on it, was made of flannel, and would keep me alive for about five seconds in subzero temperatures before I died of hypothermia.
For her I changed pebbles into diamonds, shoes into mirrors, I changed glass into water, I gave her wings and pulled birds from her ears and in her pockets she found the feathers, I asked a pear to become a pineapple, a pineapple to become a lightbulb, a lightbulb to become the moon, and the moon to become a coin I flipped for her love...
It would mark the end of a year that he might look back on as hands, a pivot between two lines. Or not: maybe enough time, would pass that eventually he would look back on his life, all of it, as a series of events both logical and continuous.
The way Misha tells it, he drove like a blind man, giving the car almost full independence to feel its way along, bumping off things, only giving the wheel a spin with the tips of this fingers when the situation verged on life threatening.