Of the state of my undereyes, not getting involved, and wondering if I’ll ever give myself a break.

  1. A red patch under one eye reveals more about the state of my mind that I’m comfortable with. Too little rest, too many thoughts.
  2. The sound of silence.
  3. Seven little speeches, each one a sliver of the story, a piece of our hearts.
  4. The routine of the work is soothing. Familiar and orderly, even when it’s busy. The best parts of customer service.
  5. He has my best interest at heart.
  6. Atmospheric tension that has nothing to do with me yet laps at my feet tempting me to wade in. Not today, Satan.
  7. Don’t let me get used to this. Let me always be grateful.
  8. I’m both thrilled at the early arrival and panicked about the now-overlap of all I’d planned to do beforehand. Add it to the muddy pool of emotions and let it go.
  9. Another “late night” for this 5am-er. I’ll get a handle on this someday.
  10. I did my best. Is it enough?


Of saying yes to the dress, being given what I didn’t ask for, and why I don’t babysit.

  1. I make the 5am wakeup.
  2. Petrichor.
  3. I rage against the situation, the behavior, the outcome–but not him. This is not who you are.
  4. We pay and head to our next errand. I barely make it out of the store before I have to lean against the wall or else sag under the weight of guilt and a dozen internal accusations and fabricated regrets.
  5. It’s always one more thing.
  6. Are they still angel investors if they’re family?
  7. Another bowl of pasta, another night of hands that feel swollen but aren’t, with a bonus impending migraine. I’m starting to suspect I’m getting old.
  8. Calculate. Recalculate. Nothing in the numbers can change the way the flesh sits on my bones. On my soul.
  9. I feel strangely validated by how badly it went.
  10. One week.


Of so much crying, fighting the female voice, and not being able to eat like I did when I was 20.

  1. I don’t know if I’m fighting a cold, the chilly weather, or a sense of ennui, but the alarm goes off and I don’t get up for another forty-five minutes. Maybe all three
  2. I cry into the pages. I cry on his chest. I cry in the public bathroom. All from different triggers that are actually all the same.
  3. It’s a great sweater.
  4. More water.
  5. I ruthlessly self-edit, cutting “weak” language to emphasize my professionalism while simultaneously worrying about being read as bitchy. The real female trouble.
  6. Learning to trust means sometimes you have to clean up pee twice in one day.
  7. Body, soul, and spirit are meant to be connected.
  8. You can’t lose it. You have to give it away.
  9. It’s the chips that did it; I could’ve gotten away with the pizza. Every joint in my hands aches, and I’ll wake up with a bread-and-salt hangover.
  10. Dear Lord, let me make that 5am club meeting.


  1. Rain.
  2. I wait to make the frosting. The noise probably won’t wake her, but who wants to gamble on that at 5:30am?
  3. I’m angry that I care about the dress. I tell myself it’s not important in the grand scheme of life, the universe, and everything. But there’s a competing sadness at yet another compromise. I’ve waited so long to fix this. Did I wait too long?
  4. A sniffle and a tear. Sports aren’t my thing, and I haven’t lived there for a decade, but it’s still my city.
  5. There and back again.
  6. We talk freely and frankly, in a way that’s cool water to my uncertainty-parched soul. I’ve missed this.
  7. When you cross the border, it’s just different. It shouldn’t be. But it is.
  8. These days, there’s a pause that goes on a beat too long whenever someone asks me how I’m doing. Because I don’t know. I have to stop to collect myself in the present moment to review the past before choosing the right words to abridge the story for casual conversation.
  9. I hear the emotion in his voice over the phone as she sings to him. A twinge of jealousy.
  10. What is that smell?


Of bird cuddles, big emotions, and being a certain kind of baker.

  1. I am not down to join the 4:30am Club.
  2. A pair of mourning doves huddle together beneath a fern in the early dawn air.
  3. Nailed it in one.
  4. She stands up to me, for me, against herself. Friendception.
  5. We talk for hours across the table in her lovely home, full of grays and yellows and dustless decor, and solve our culture’s health problems with prescriptions for better food and more information.
  6. Helpless. That’s how I feel in the face of her big emotions that come from nowhere, a heartbreaking mystery to both of us.
  7. What do you do when the organized chaos can no longer be organized?
  8. I pour the creamy chocolate batter into greased and floured pans and sense a subtle shift. I’m now the kind of woman who has That Cake She Always Bakes.
  9. His birthday tomorrow. I wish that didn’t make me anxious. At least we have something to talk about this year.
  10. Ten more days.