Ah, to be alive, I thought. Not a small miracle, considering the events of the past few weeks, and the growing uncertainty I sensed all around me. Breaking miracle into its components, I counted seven letters and three syllables, numbers which, momentarily at least, reassured me some, bearing, as I saw it, a favorable message.
The files stacked under a precarious arrangement of desk supplies began their landslide just as I stumbled into the elevator, unsteadied by the weight of the box. Marc would have said I was defying the laws of physics in the way they were piled and I knew I should have planned a second trip, but as always I was hurrying to be efficient.
I was sitting at the dinning room table reading The Plague. My parents and Madeleine all came in at once, like an intervention.
"Nancy," my mother said, smiling at me kindly and pityingly. "Madeleine is going to a party."
My mother had begun to repulse me lately. In a surprisingly obvious revelation, Id realized two things about her. She was a blinker; and she could only talk about superficial things. God, she could go on and on about food.
This is the beginning of one hundred days. It is wrong, when to say no nothing happens, yes nothing happens in the head of one building or one sidewalk. At the top of a generation all things fall over the edges and some will give each one a way of saying. It cant be you are missing, or that given a slope you react. You cant ask if we are wanting you; all of we is a silent tall.
Not that I’ve dismissed the possibility my brother is dead. We have discussed what is possible, what is not. They say there’s every chance. No chance at all. Over a thousand displaced persons in these parts, perhaps more. So we move on. Towards. Away. Claiming another to take his place, as I place him in profile. Shapes suiting my fancy. Rooms with or without connecting doors. He watches when she isn’t around. A perverse protection he knows she needs.
I live in Intercourse Pennsylvania, have three phone lines and never communicate with any of my living relatives.
Dont ask me what I think of Intercourse. I dont know. I havent left my property in two years, since I relocated from Dayton, Ohio. I say "relocated" instead of "moved," because, despite the transition I have remained essentially inert.
To: Cynthia Munch, Comptroller, Grants Division From: Mitch Kakuski
Ronald McDonald Foundation Helmsley/AMC Gitford Hotel
22278 Ronald Reagan Pacific Coast Highway 737 Seventh Avenue
Newport Beach, California 92663 New York, New York 10019
Dear Ms. Munch,
This is in reply to your response to my EMERGENCY request for more money. Let me remind you, in case you missed the messages I left on your machine over the weekend, that I am down to my last few thousand dollars, which won’t even cover the bill for last week here at the hotel. I know that by Third World (or even terrorized New York) standards, I’m not that bad off yet, but it makes me sick to think about having to go back to my old life. It would be like a genie giving you a magic carpet and flight lessons, then pulling the rug out when you got airborne. Anyway, you asked me to "give a thorough accounting" of the money already sent to me. Of course I’ve been too busy to keep track of every little thing, but here is what happened, from the beginning: