Today it was rain. It was fog outside and inside my head. It was paper cups of Earl Grey until I felt as sloshy as my boots. It was the turn inward, the curve into my own thoughts, leading in spirals, tracing pencil lines like swirls in the margins of textbook pages. It was feeling absent from everything that matters, this one truth insistent as the drip, drip, drip of the leaf-clogged gutter beside the porch. Today it was a radio playing somewhere else, muffled through a wall or a floor or a door--not sure which--but the voices of other lives were there, just beyond reach. It was stacks and stacks of paper, notecards half-written, thank-you's that trailed off to what if's. It was the deception of cinnamon-sugar bubbling over in the oven, the burn, the syrupy-sweet. You may be excused, the clock said, whether I wanted it or not. And then suddenly there I was far off in the rain like a figure on a road through a fogged windshield. You can rub and rub but still the fog remains and there she is, small and dark, wearing the wrong coat and those awful boots as she heads off into godknowswhere.