I was okay--if a little harried--as the day went on, and as I gathered things up, squeezed them into the corners of various bags, and as I raced through doing the dishes and drying them and putting them away and folding the last load of laundry and packing the sheets away into the linen closet and rolling up the area rugs and cleaning the bathroom. And I was okay, though veering sharply toward melancholy, as two of my dear students arrived and saw me off by helping me finish the things I needed to do in the apartment. And I was okay, if a little oblivious (probably because a little oblivious) as I rode off the hill in the back of my excellent friends' car, with my year's worth of clothing and miscellanies in the trunk. And I was better than okay through a lovely dinner with my excellent friends and my flaming-sworded friend and her excellent husband and my excellent novelist friend and his excellent wife. Excellence all around. And then it hit me, finally, that I won't see them for months, that I will shortly be going off by myself. I have known this all along, of course, but I've been in a curious state of not-feeling about it. And I am okay still, and more than okay. But dark fields away, my friends have gone to bed, and their dog doesn't know yet that I've gone for a long time, and that brings a sadness that excitement wont slake--even though, as this room's ceiling fan dings gently (its pull-cord bouncing against its metal lightshades, like a boat's chain chiming to its hull), that excitement is stirring still.