Sitting on the toilet, I fall in to a reverie as I watch branches and their leaves dance on the bathroom floor, shadows coming in through the window.
In a rare instance of retaliation, I push a boy that I feel has wronged me off of a small concrete platform at the entrance of our school, and in to a bush. He gets up, crying. I feel terrible, but go inside to find my mother and pretend like nothing's happened.
Once I discover The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I proceed to watch all released seasons on DVD, wishing that I could have been an independent working girl that hung out with the fictitious Mary and Rhoda in 1970s Minneapolis.
As I slather on butter and add a mixture of cinnamon and sugar to the already cinnamon-sugary Cinnamon Crunch Bagels that I got from Panera, I wince at my unhealthy glee and tell myself, "This is SO not right."
Watching the finale to The Oprah Winfrey Show, I'm listening to, and am moved by, her beautiful words - definitely in touch with that reverent feeling for all of Life - until I notice a flying bug pass through the kitchen. By reflex, I jump up for the fly swatter and chase after it, ending it's little (but sacred) life on the window sill.
Driving home from my brother's band concert, the eerie, darkening skies, the falling rain and hail, together with radio voices warning of nearby tornadoes, both frightens and exhilarates.
With my mother and father up front, my brother and I ride in the attached camper on our way to Tennessee. One of my favorite parts of the journey is having a reason to talk to one of them, as it gives me an excuse to open the little window between the cab and camper. Loving the sound and feel of rushing wind between.
In a book of spells, I find one that's designed to cause another person to call you on the phone for whatever your intended reason. As a test, I carefully follow the directions, intending my friend to simply call and ask for the time. Twenty minutes later, the phone rings and it's her, asking me what time it is right off the bat. Amazed, I start to laugh and ask her why she called to ask me that. She pauses and says, "I don't know. There's a clock right here."
A guy I've only been out with once asks me to accompany him to the laundromat while he dries his clothes. Having never been to such a nice laundromat before, I'm surprised by the size and cleanliness of it. While not exactly comfortable with the guy, I find the ambiance so pleasing - relaxing, even - that it more than makes up for the minor awkwardness. With all of the interesting people to observe and TVs going and fans blowing, I genuinely wish he'd brought more loads of laundry.
Disgusted by my lack of direction, I curse myself for not getting on with things. I complain to myself that there should be a job or a degree for how I spend my days. I can see the plaque on my wall: a Ph.D. in "Resting on One's Laurels."
In the computer lab, I lean too far back in my chair and lose my balance, falling to the floor. I am surprised at how uncharacteristically not-embarrassed I am by this.
Walking along a hospital corridor, I smell a fragrance that I instantly recall as the perfume my Theater Arts teacher used to wear years ago.
On a remote Illinois farm, I step outdoors once the moon has risen and am struck by the stillness. I begin to understand what night, and quiet, can be.
Despite my fondness for our kind, soft-spoken Geometry teacher, when the class gets out of control, I too, join my friends at the front of the room and begin jumping-rope.
Lying on the couch in the dark of my uncle's unfamiliar front room, I can't help but notice a shadowy figure that while I know probably isn't a person, really looks like a person, and appears to be staring at me, creepy and unmoving. When the lights are turned on, my potential assailant is revealed to be a coat rack.
I call out to my aunt's dog, "Good girl, good girl! Hi! How are you!? You sweet girl! Hi!" It amuses me how she doesn't even lift her head, and how I imagine she's inwardly rolling her eyes at me for talking to her in such a dumb, high-pitched voice.
I love the chilled air smell of the grocery store freezers so much that I linger with the door open, feigning indecision over the selection of microwave meals.
At the mall, I'm approached by a gypsy who convinces me to play a curious game involving a little rubber ball and a Styrofoam cup. Not understanding his instructions, I break one of the rules, and without warning, am punched in the face - jolting me back in to wakefulness, where I'm lying in my bed.
After getting on the wrong bus and aimlessly riding around for awhile, I get off at a random stop and begin to wander around the modest, nearby shopping center. On a whim, after coming across a salon, I decide to cut and bleach my hair. As I enter, I encounter an acquaintance of mine from middle school who winds up being my assigned stylist. After my cut, we go outside and catch up; among other things, she tells me that she's pregnant. Soon after that, she asks to bum a cigarette - and reluctantly, I give her one. As she continues on with the conversation, I'm silently apologizing to her innocent fetus.
Waiting to board the plane on the jetway, an attractive man stands in front of me. I repeatedly envision the grabbing of his chest from behind, pulling him to me, grinding up against him, kissing his neck and smelling his hair.
After years of trying to find a high school friend, hoping that she'd eventually show up online someday, I'm told by a friend that she passed away of cancer several years before. I'm incredibly saddened. I almost cry, but don't.