People came to watch me read stories in an art gallery on Saturday. The gallery was empty but for a little step stool and a dog toy in the shape of a football. People sat on the floor. I brought two pies, and people actually ate them. The reading went well except for when my mouth dried out during my third story. I had to walk across the gallery and fill a wine glass with water. The residue of the wine in the glass turned the water blue. It looked like I was drinking cleaning supplies. Everyone was so nice about it.
There are pictures of me reading, but I won't post them here. My chin disappeared into my neck when I looked down at my book. I've heard words for people with weak chins. "Thumb" gets passed around.
I've been tall, and now I'm skinny like I used to be when I was short enough for gymnastics. I can't hide anymore. I try. I have prescription glasses that turn into sunglasses when I'm outdoors. But I couldn't hide at the reading. My book is too small to cover my face. People call my book a baby. Publishers Weekly calls it a star. There are reviews, then there's THAT review. Josh made me read it out loud to him before we went to sleep last night. It was a celebration night. Those nights are like undiluted vinegar. Be careful.
After the reading, we all went to a bar and drank two beers each. I talked to poets. One of them was wearing a hat to protect from sunburn. It was after dark. I guess the sun is always out for poets. I developed a crush. Those are easy to develop. I develop them whenever I leave the house. Mostly, I don't leave the house.
Josh, his mother, and I were at an Indian restaurant on Sunday. Josh's mother told a story about her father as a boy. Every summer, a man would come to live in a hut by the rock quarry in her father's town. The quarry was filled with water. The man would take a large jar and dive down where the water was coldest, and he'd bottle the cold water and bring it back up with him to share. The way she told it made it seem like a simple miracle. We were eating dry cooked okra. The dry cooking kills the slime. Another little miracle.
I can imagine diving down deep enough for something precious. There was this time I was in the ocean, and I tried going under for a shell, but the shell was too far down, and my ears began to hurt. When I came up someone warned me about reaching for strange shells. That sometimes the creatures living inside are toxic. OK. That's fine. But sometimes they're not.