> jumping into life.

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On Thursday you will park in Lot A. On Friday, will NOT park in Lot A; you will be turned aside or ticketed if you try. On Friday, you will park in the muddy field behind the gym.

On Thursday you will iron a shirt for what feels like the first time in your life, even though of course it isn't. You will think suddenly of ironing your wedding dress, which was almost a year ago now, and was the last time you held an iron.

On Thursday you will forget and remember your schedule so many times that the very forgetting and remembering begin to feel comfortable. The schedule is written on a scrap of paper tucked inside the new, fancy calendar book that you bought for this new job, and which does also have things written in it. Still, you somehow prefer, almost viscerally, to write things on handy scraps of paper and stick them in the front pocket.

You will accidentally iron in nearly as many wrinkles as you iron out, and you with think - not for the first time - that this is one of the downsides of women's liberation. You thought that also when your husband's grandmother sent you the set of silverware and a beautiful box to put it in and you did not know how the silver was meant to fit in the box.

Surely, fifty or a hundred years ago, you would know by now how to do such things as iron a shirt and care for silver.

On Thursday you will park in Lot A. You will fall asleep alone in a hotel room, sleep alone for the first time since you-can't-remember-when. Since long before the last time you held an iron. You will arrive to your destinations precisely on time, even though you tried to schedule yourself an extra fifteen or twenty minutes on either side of everything.

You will speak in a high, sweet voice that is not entirely your own, and you will try very hard to speak the truth when someone asks you a question you can't answer.

You will walk down the halls of high schools and universities and wonder if they can tell that you are not one of them. That they seem impossibly young. That you fill a space in the universe that an adult might fill.

Fifty or a hundred years ago, you would surely have children of your own by now, or be a spinster aunt by now, your younger siblings well into child-rearing themselves. It is one of the upsides of women's liberation, you think, that there are no spinsters anymore. Still, on Thursday night, when the event is over and you are hungry, you will not walk down the streets of this college town, alone.

On Friday, you will park in the muddy lot behind the gym, try not to get mud on your nice and professional clothes. On Thursday, you will park in Lot A.

Oh, Kat. This is so poignant, somehow. It reminds me of when I was commuting by train down to Bridgeport U to teach Chaucer. I felt so lost and bogus, and I wore clothes that screamed "inauthentic!" (to me, if not to anyone else.)

I hope this is all doable and okay! xoxo

Thanks, Dale. It's mostly fun.

Also: I miss Chaucer!

On Friday you will remember that no matter where you parked, no matter how much mud-splatter is on the calves of your pressed pants, you are loved. You are loved. You are loved.

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