Wednesday, April 18, 2007

642 days, 4 hours, 27 minutes, 49 seconds

7:23 in Manhattan. Most of the women she knows are probably retouching their lipstick before or after dinner. (She fell today). The women she's closest to wear soft shades. Barely visible on their lips. Not like the magenta she wore in high school. She was a sorority pledge, she had to wear it. (She fell this afternoon crossing Columbus Ave.). Even on her wedding day she never thought of makeup. Though she owes her life to Botox. Not for wrinkles, for migraine. All those vain women have their uses. And, she admits, she's put on light powder for photographs. Never lipstick. Never eye shadow to weigh down already-tired eyes. And no plucked eyebrows. (She fell tonight just after picking up clothes from the cleaners).

642 days, 9 hours, 46 minutes, 25 seconds

Two nosebleeds in two days. She doesn't have time for this. But she picks at her nose when she's nervous, the way her mother smoked or Connie sucks on straws. Smoking was bad for her husband's health as well. Better than these nosebleeds, she supposes, when she's already slightly anemic. Blood on the keyboard now.

642 days, 23 hours, 5 minutes, 17 seconds

642 – It's an address. Or a zip code. An area code? Actually it's the first three digits of her summer phone number. Numbers no one can complete unless she wants to talk to them. We're focusing on vacations here. Houses with lawns and hammocks and barns. 642, the numbers humming like insects bedded down for the night, while frogs coak from one side of the road to the other and she lies in total darkness on the screened-in porch. 642. No peace last summer. And here she'd been waiting for this day, planning for it, stocking up on words as if they were earthquake provisions.

642 days, 23 hours, 55 minutes, 40 seconds

Headached, jetlagged, coming down with a cold – or maybe all three, she tries the Bush Cheney game to regain focus. Scores so low it's ridiculous, the head right in perfect position then she doesn't have strength to shoot. The two of them could get away with torture when she's in this state. And how many senators are there now campaigning every weekend? Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey... George and Laura, meanwhile, visited Virginia Tech today, thirty-three dead, others critical, the worst shooting in American history. One freshman, from New Jersey, was on an ROTC scholarship.