At 12:30 I boarded the bus to my grandparents' house with an overnight bag and a small snack. I was the only passenger. The driver put on a country radio station at maximum volume, and then we set off. The music made me think of the phrase "easy listening" and for those two hours I was completely content, as I often am during long car rides but rarely am otherwise. We passed snow banks and lone houses and so many geese, and also Giggles Why Not, a cryptically-windowed store on Route 9 (lingerie, gag gifts), which is either a joke shop or a sex shop, I can never decide which. Around 3:00 the driver pulled to the side of the highway and opened the door. 

"Miss," he said, in a flat voice, until I heard him over the music. "Miss. Your stop. Miss."

In my grandparents' house I ate guacamole on crackers and tried to decompress from the events of the past few weeks. Usually talking is a good way to do this, and so is being with my grandmother, but it was hard to shake that feeling of unease. At night I got into bed and began to watch men's curling, but the game was slow-moving and obscure, so I walked down to the office. Along the walls are hundreds of old photographs and sometimes looking at them is a kind of balm. There is a lot of stuff that came before this, you realize, and a lot that's coming after it. 

Almost twenty years ago: me and Dad.



At nine o'clock I woke up and finished the story. The sky was gloomy and unmorninglike--my favorite kind of sky--and I looked at it through the downstairs windows while printing the story, which took ten minutes, because the computer has a virus. I put a paperclip around the stack of paper, turned it over and sandwiched it between the coffee table books in the living room so I would not be tempted to edit it. Then I went for a brisk walk outside while listening to Bonnie Raitt. Later, in the bath, I read an article about Lorrie Moore in which she joked that writers should ideally have month-long stretches when they can sit around in their bathrobes and write, which made me laugh until I realized that this is exactly what I have been doing.