Final work and good news trickle in, bit by bit.
My UPS man brings me more boxes. "This looks like more than a lot of books," he says. Some boxes are a mystery even to me--they've come here instead of going elsewhere.
Inside one box is a box of forty cardboard building blocks with which I hope my young friend will love--and which she does indeed turn out to, even before the day is over. We build the boxes. I work on teaching her more new words. "Uncool!" when the boxes don't build right. "Stack! Stack!" She loves the ten foot stretch of brown packing paper, too, and we wrap ourselves in it as though it were shot silk, as though we were designers, or designers' dress forms. The brown paper becomes a road, a robe, a wrap, a disguise. She becomes a pillar of paper. Her parents feed me dinner. I stack the cardboard blocks in the hall before I leave for home.
This evening is the first evening when she seems not to understand why I would leave. She presses her face against the glass door. I press my face to the other side. "She's going to her house," I hear her mother say. We all wave until I'm out of sight.