I picked up scars on the road to enlightenment. I wear gloves now. They were the gloves I use to pilfer japonica berries and forsythia on the roadside. I kept them in the driver-side door pocket, where they fit neatly with my spring-loaded pruners.
Carved from a solid block of wood, oblong like an island and with a small hole in its middle that made it easy to grasp, it had an undulating form and a smooth surface that darkened with age and handling. In my world it had existed before me and it followed us from home to home, apartment to loft.
I still have them, tucked away in boxes and files labeled “Cards & Letters.” The handwritten envelopes addressed to Miss Cassie Collins, in my Aunt Rose’s perfect Palmer Method penmanship or my Grandfather’s shaky hand still pop up now and then in a drawer of this-and-that, having failed to make it to the files.
You are three years old, sitting between your mother and father on an airplane. It is summertime and you are going to visit your aunt and your big cousin in New York. For now, Mami and Papi are your whole world.
I have a tendency to lose people. I consider it a character flaw. And because I am also fiercely loyal, this tendency can lead to debilitating guilt that I carry around like a sack in my psyche. Modern technology has done little to help me.
Writing is a solitary activity for most writers. It’s not a team sport. We don’t wear matching jerseys and go out for beers together after a good day of writing.