I was my father grading papers in his office. Two kids came in to beg an extension. I could tell they hated me. We talked and I pissed them off by saying I would only give them an extension for the purpose of learning something fully, not getting more time to waste. One got angry and left but the other one was paying attention.
It was the last day of school but we were all too old to be there anymore. She yelled at us to get our desks in line. We pretended not to know what she meant and moved ouir desks all over the place. She kept screaming "FEET ON THE FLOOR!" panicky, losing control, and we all knew it.
Eventually she passed out slips of paper and made us all draw our favorite day. I took it seriously for about a second, then realized it was too much work, and drew what I wanted to draw. I could see a cathedral in my head and I traced it. I knew it was a careful line I was walking between vision and consciousness. I loved the lines of the cathedral's roof. On the grass down below, a man was chopping down a tree. Why? Someone had died.
In the restaurant I was shy but circulated among many groups of people. I didn't say much but that was fine. The waitress laughed and asked where she could find another one like me. I told her Paula would be coming in soon.
I realized I'd left the sketch of the cathedral on my table and went back for it. I picked it up but it was a book of stamps and Hal was angry I was trying to steal them. I tried to explain but stopped when I saw Jeff Krug, whose eyes I could never quite meet. He was glaring at me, not saying anything. I tried to be polite but no one bought it. It was all my fault. I walked away.
Walked back to my car, feeling satin skirt against my legs. There - the sketch was safely in the car. I went down to the river with Johnny and the girl. He had scrawled the word "eviction" on her notebook. He seemed sullen but I couldn't tell if it was because I was there, or if he was just being himself.
The water was cool and clear and making its beautiful noises. I surprised myself by saying out loud, I want to jump in the river. But I was in a skirt. But I looked down and I was in jeans. So I would jump in the river; it was as simple as that.