I am sitting in my neighborhood coffee shop, taking ludicrous advantage of free wireless internet since I don’t yet have it in my home. Outside snow is falling – has been falling, in fact, for two straight days. Next to me a French teacher from Carnegie Mellon is conducting her mid-term oral exams. Two students have managed to make it through without breaking into English but her current pupil, one of those blond-haired, blue-eyed boys with skin and teeth seemingly made from a life-time diet of whole milk, fresh vegetables and farm-raised meat, has faltered. The teacher looked at him and, in English, said you speak very very poor French. This is the sort of comment that would have crushed me as a student but he just looked at her and said “C’est bien” and she laughed and now she is discussing his future with him, urging him spend the summer abroad, which he continually backs away from, citing a girlfriend who would not be pleased with that decision at all.
I’ve been contemplating for a couple of days how to resume blogging, not because of any sort of blogging angst or anything but rather because I don’t know what my first post should be…what do readers want to know? Would you like a blow by blow of our move, which seems overly indulgent but at the same time, like a good idea, get us all on the same page again? Or some actual reflection on this move, on leaving Michigan? On returning to Pittsburgh? What do I want to write about? At first I thought I’d evaluate and consider this change from every viewpoint, and surely I will, over time, but what is perhaps most important is the fact that I am overwhelmingly content. When I left Pittsburgh for metropolitan Detroit I spent a good percentage of the first several months crying. On returning, I haven’t had one moment of reconsideration or pause. I am meant to live in this city.
Last night, on my way home from the bar where I watched Purdue destroy my Spartans, balancing my leftover pizza in one hand and my laptop bag slung across the opposite shoulder, I composed the most perfect blog post in my head – the blog post that could with both brevity and beauty say goodbye to the Michigan of my memory and hello to this new decade of mine, a decade I have decided will be unabashedly messy. I am living in the city where I will buy my first home, have my children, finish my first novel, advance my career and I finally understand how fantastic it is to experience the peace that accompanies simply knowing where one will be, for a good long while, if not forever.
Oh, it was a fantastic post.
And then, out of nowhere, right in front of my new apartment, I slipped on a piece of ice and fell so hard I lost my breath. I somehow landed both on my right knee and my back. It took me a moment to gather myself as I stared up at the sky, and the unending shower of snow falling on me, around me, everywhere. I sat up, took off a glove, and with my pinky nail scratched across the surface of solid black ice that I had slipped on. I stood up slowly, worrying for a moment I had broken my knee, gathered my laptop and pizza box, and made my way inside my spartan but beautiful apartment. I put the pizza in the fridge, stripped off my clothes, put on my robe and inspected my knee, which was swelling to a frightening degree, and turning all sorts of black, blue and green. I went to the freezer, cursing the fact I did not yet have any ice, and considered what I could use to reduce the swelling – the frozen chicken, the bag of scallops, or the bag of shrimp. I chose the chicken, and made my way into the living room, where I popped the movie “Evening” into the dvd player and settled on the couch with the chicken on my knee.
Incidentally, “Evening” helped me finally clarify the ending of my novel. As I watched it I finally realized exactly what Anna will choose to do, and it’s not what I had planned at all. Since I started this novel with the last line written first, it sort of screws that up, but that’s the way these things go, sometimes.
This morning I woke with what can only be described as a goose egg on my knee – a huge, green and black lump where normally my knee indents (rather attractively, I think). I can barely stand to straighten the leg but, since I CAN, I am working under the assumption is merely bruised and not broken, and I am working very hard not to recall the one and only episode of “House” that I’ve seen, the one after the Super Bowl with Mira Sorvino, where she unknowingly broke her toe and parts of fat from the toe bone (or something like that) released into her bloodstream (or something) and she almost died but, you know, House saved her. Because, you know, House is fictional and I can’t call him.
So, you know. You take the good with the bad, so to speak. I’m definitely feeling a bit more vulnerable today than I was yesterday, when I walked with a jaunt instead of a limp. But really, what I wanted to say – was that I am back, and I will be blogging regularly again, and for whatever reason this whole writing-the-first-blog-post after a momentous life change is stupidly confusing, but by the next post things should be back to normal, with talk of reading and writing and moving and Michigan and Pittsburgh and S. and my family and yes, photos, and the absurd difficulty of cooking for one, and memes and discussion of my knee.