walk downtown on tip toes, balancing between the concrete and the ice. try to find your grip, fail. walk in flower beds instead.
make stuffed raccoons out of felt.
feel pleased with yourself, then wonder if you should be doing something else with your life: in a different city, with a different man, with a different medium. perhaps charcoal. perhaps a typewriter.
these are thoughts that never really leave, no matter how happy you are. no matter how many raccoons you make of felt. no matter how many pages you have or have not written. no matter who you are standing next to-- at the bus stop, in the grocery store, on the stairs to your apartment.
research teaching schools for hours during your "flex" time at work. contemplate the debt of a master's degree. contemplate the debt of another two years in the same place you don't want to settle down in, but have.
give up on your research. drive to the nearest thrift store and dig through other people's lost and abandoned things. find nothing, or find a basket of things: a gnome for your father, a kitschy santa from the 50's, an old tea towel with cats on it.
bring your things home, only to find that you have no room for anything. start to feel that you are owned by your things. start to feel old and immobile. sell your things.
this is the part where you sell all your things, until you can fit everything you own into your blue suitcase with the chrome wheels. this is the part where you leave. go somewhere you have never been before and start over from scratch, without a recipe. somehow this will make you a better person.
but of course, it won't, it will only make you different.
you have begun to like the way the radiators sound when they turn on each morning, crackling and sizzling like onion and garlic in a skillet. what's more: your things have begun to assume a life of their own in the apartment. the santa on the bookshelf with rosy and flushed cheeks, the raccoons lined up on the couch, cheerfully waiting for something to happen.
nothing will happen. but one day you will wake up and know exactly what you should do that day.