I wake up and my brother is still here. Odd to have someone spend the night - odd just to have someone else in my apartment. Noises not made by me - a rarity, a commodity.

I turn twenty-four in the shower.

Pete calls and asks who's having the hap-hap-happiest birthday so far. Suddenly I am hit again by how transparent my approach has become, by how much I have not been listening to, out of fear. Of course I'm crying, there's no way around it. My poor brother turns on the stereo in the other room and tries to ignore me. Mid-sob I start laughing because I have to renew my driver's license today - trauma anough without a blotchy, puffy, stupid face.

At work I receive two nasty shocks in a row about Patrick, whom I might have (would have, would have) asked out. 1. he's moving to South Carolina next week. 2. he's having a foul love affair with Heather. I don't know which is the worse disappointment.

At Pete's house I get the sneaking suspicion that I have begun to relax a little. I forget about this until we are on a nice long drive to Thai food and I am looking out the window at the calm dark trees and it suddenly crashes in on me that nothing is expected of me at this moment. It's like my water broke. My eyes sting but I'd rather not cry so I don't, and really I don't need to, it's just the shock of sudden peace.