I read something about agent orange and I just couldn’t care, I couldn’t care less. I walked down the street and saw the birds chirping in the trees by the rows of houses, but I just couldn’t hear them. I just can’t hear a birdsong, sing bird for me and swell my heart. Mommy, what’s a heart?

And inside these houses (three families a piece) there sit glorious baby grand pianos never to be played, and dried pasta in glass cylinders on kitchen counters never to be cooked al dente. And the birds sing and the kids laugh and the men cry and I don’t hear them. I can’t hear a thing mainly for my drowning out voice.

When I arrived at the bus stop on the corner I heard the roar of the bus, but I just couldn’t get on, I just couldn’t. I made to take that step, but the soles of my shoes had become one with the pavement. Well, what do I do now? I’m stuck here, I thought. Stuck to the ground, what a predicament. I plopped down on the bus bench behind me without moving my feet. Not a bad place to get stuck, I guess, as getting stuck goes, I thought, at this awkward angle. And then I sat and thought some more.

People came and went and stole glances at my immovable presence every time I failed to board an oncoming bus. Sometimes the cars got stuck at stoplights and looking straight ahead everything was empty and I dozed comfortably with my back against the glass shelter until the next group of bus passengers arrived to stand and look sullen and impatient and wait.

I was getting hungry and it was getting darker. Someone left a half-eaten bag of chips and a thimble-full of beer in a can on the seat next to me just in time for supper. I supped eagerly, marvelling at how life always provides for the sickliest of her sticky-sweet children.