[Cue the fluttering of September. Enter RICH.]
RICH: I used to write on the first page of my yearly diaries––
––in that order; as a reminder and as prescription. And I have taught; and loved; and not written enough. Now I wonder: what now? I texted my friend Emily this week: I’ve always found September to be such a re-beginning. So this is my re-beginning again, this September (try to remember). This is me wandering and re-wondering about it all. A PhD? What novel? This: a declaration; some introduction. The nurse practitioner last month said that I drink too much coffee. [takes a swig of coffee] In a follow-up, she said that I seemed (from a sampling of blood and some urine) to be disgustingly healthy. Asked: “Have you cut down on the coffee? More than four cups a day is too much.” I said that I hadn’t. [What gurgles up from the gut to be born forms an acid tongue?] My sister and I walked around the Gardens section here in our hometown of Ocean City the weekend before her birthday, looking at houses facing the ocean.
And all the houses we looked at facing the ocean––all looked back at us in hunger.
[RACH enters with her Port•A•Pug, Pickle.]
RACH: I live in the Hudson Valley, in the City of Hudson. My apartment bears an amazing resemblance to a tree fort: small rooms high above the ground, wooden beam in the living room, leaves tapping on the windows, and a view of the Catskill Mountains. I drink raw milk from the local farm store and shop for groceries at 10 o’clock at night. I don’t always know what day of the week it is; my day off doesn’t always fall on a weekend. I spend most of my days working on music––sometimes obsessively; internally weighing the pros and cons of allowing oneself to become consumed. I have yet to reach a conclusion as to which is the proper course of action and there is no middle ground. But I’m finding there can be balance, and I’m looking for it.
I don’t often feel I really know what’s going on. I’m ok with this. I see it as a strength of character; at least I know that I don’t know. I mutter sanskrit mantras to myself and this grounds me. I text Rich, “Oh, Brother. Thank God for you.” He understands me more than anyone could ask from another person. And, he sends the best cards of anyone in the world.