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2005-07-22 - 10:25 a.m.

Back in Virginia, where the radio news folks are saying it will be "another day that feels like one hundred degrees." I'm just used to this. I feel like this past month has been salty and hot and fast.

A whirlwind in my head. I had a great month. The teaching job was fantastic, and I rarely think this about any job. The second time around was so much easier, so much more fun, more fulfilling. I know this because whereas last summer the kids couldn't wait to get done, this time, on the last day, I got:

Two Cadbury chocolate bars (fucking right!) held together with a rubber band wrapped in Tweety Bird wrapping paper and a note which read "...and you can keep the rubber band."
One handmade note that read: "To: Mr. From: ???"
One store-bought note with careful, nine-year-old handwriting inside saying he liked the class very much
A gift card to Barnes and Noble for fifteen dollars (which I used to get Annie Dillard's memoir for a girl I may have fallen for, etc.)

And the people I left behind three years ago but which, miraculously, are still very much a part of me. Yuengling and shots of tequila and the jukebox at Friends (still has "OK Computer" and Costello's greatest hits) and late cigarettes on Kevin's back patio and a girl who's too young for me but is amazing nonetheless and shirtless ping pong at one in the morning and shows at The Talking Head. Whoosh and whirl and mint twenties sliding out of my wallet, gritty because they're so fresh and slipping out like legs from between the sheets in the cool mornings. Also: Nabokov's "Speak, Memory," and tonight moving the computer from bedroom to living room and Mark Strand and Billy Collins and even e.e. cummings, which I'd always discounted but which young, eager eyes have uncovered for me. Drive-in movies which make for mosquito bites in the pattern of the Big Dipper on the left side of my back. New dress shoes from the biggest mall human minds can darkly fathom, too-small short-sleeve shirts from the thrift store in the heart of West Baltimore, and music coming out of my pores. Beck, The Secret Machines, Dandy Warhols, Elliott Smith as always, The Shins, and a mix CD that I made for someone else who says she listens to it while reading poetry on the screened-in porch.

Is there a topic sentence here? Is there reflection? There must be, because I've learned there must be, but right now the facts are enough. More than enough. Still, the through line? The thread made of glowing twine? It might have something to do with a reminder--a kick in the ass--that I'm very much alive, in a specific place that has hallmarks of Everywhere, Anytime, but which belongs to me and a bunch of shining people who subsist on sweat and the sunrise. And that we, I very much believe, like the company of the other more than we can express.

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