Right now

There are things I keep wanting to say about Alex—not just Alex, but any partner really—and questions I want to ask like: how is it possible that after seven years of living here he does not know where I buy milk and what kind I get? Like tonight he phone-terrorized me to find out whether to get sweetened or unsweetened applesauce. Isn't that obvious? What kind would you get? But then again my friend Eli (remember her? I don't know if I've mentioned her in a long time...not during my solipsistic narcissistic years of graduate study in a field that no longer exists) and I were talking about all these areas where we take too much control over things and then resent that we have to do all the work. I should be happy with any kind of milk, really, that I don't have to carry. But I think for some reason irritations with my domestic partner/spouse/not-husband/roommate/co-parent are always an entry point into thinking about more important things. I don't know why.

The Empire State is just plain white today. I haven't looked at it in a long time. It's only when I write free-form that I think to look out at it, when I'm not writing about 18th century contingencies of colonialism or something out that makes me hunch over and (try to) block everything out. The last time I remember really thinking about it was a night my cousin Moira was here when they were projecting endangered animals onto it. August 3. Moira's in Spain now. I haven't heard a word from her. When I started this blog, she was just a kid. It's strange. It's also weird to think that Wally was a toddler then, a toddler who didn't really talk. And now he's like this essential person in my life and he changes the way I think almost daily. And I think, "Who who who is the person?" And that it makes me think of that scene from Sports Night where Dana interviews Jeremy. 

I have to write a couple things that are due tomorrow. I have time. There's lots of time until tomorrow.

I'm having a completely different experience this year at grad school so far. I am on the one hand aware of how completely overwhelming it all is. I think last year I had some kind of protective layer where I just wasn't going to admit to myself that it was really pretty much almost impossible to manage, just switching from mom-world to student-world alone, from packing lunch and figuring out pickup to understanding what Hugh Grady means when he talks about the impure aesthetic in A MidSummer Night's Dream. This alone was some kind of circus act, and I felt like I was was pretending to eat fire every time I flipped from one to the other. 

(Listen to this song while you're reading this post.)

This fall I am more aware of the crazy balancing act required, more patient with myself, more understanding of the time I have to devote to each and how much they each wear me down, but I am also just letting myself soak it all in. I know I most likely won't continue on in graduate school. I know—after dreaming for years of being exactly where I am—these three classes are very likely the last three I'll ever take. I can't do anything but enjoy it.

And here we are on the eve of Yom Kippur, long after the first three stars appeared in the September sky, on the last day of summer, and Alex is in the kitchen stirring polenta and a survey from Fordham today asked my religious affiliation and I answered that I don't have any at all, because the truth is, I don't. I am not fasting. I have never fasted. I don't have any great task to accomplish tonight. No one's talking in their sleep. But I did write a song about the day of atonement, and suddenly I am seized with trying to find it. I am still that same Rachel who played that song to whiskey-soaked crowds on Bowery back before New York became a Long Island strip mall. I am still that same Rachel, but in so many other ways I'm not.

Here are Wally and Petra on the first day of school.


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