Charlotte and I tried to play Scrabble but got frustrated, and dumped all the tiles back in the box. The best we came up with was Mosaic and Pirana, Pirana hers, not exactly right, needing an H or a symbol over the N.
The last two nights I overslept, in bed by 8, over-indulging in the act of sleep. The drumming of rain off the gutter by our window like the sound of Morse code, an SOS.
At the office anyone who’s there doesn’t want to be, the last week before Christmas. Going out for light between storm fronts to watch the moody ribbons of clouds, the pale white sky. The leftover blackberries on the bushes still, from last summer.
I could go back to that week we spent outside Galway in Salthill, or the house we rented in the country, west of Cork—but going back feels sad with nothing to replace it with, here. This is what it must feel like to get old, more focus on the past than future.
I got an old coat out of the attic I hadn’t worn in years, that I’ve had since 1986. I remember, because it was the year I turned 16: I bought two overcoats at a second hand store near our old house in Allentown. They were old man coats, probably an old man who just died. One of them black and the other, brown herringbone. Both fit perfectly and made me look older, and I needed all the help I could get with that, at age 16.
And like I always do, I left keepsakes in the inner pockets. In the herringbone, a pay stub with my name typed on it and social security number, my annual pay $25,000, in 1996. There was a ticket stub from a movie I couldn’t remember called Argo. I threw it out at the bus stop and looked at my phone again, though there was nothing new to see there. And I worried about the pay stub getting found with my SSN on it. And then I thought it was time to start letting go of dumb things like that, but couldn’t.