This is where we end up—at a window table with our notebooks. The morning after the evening when her purse was stolen, I picked her up at seven. I had a notebook filled with reminders and notations and she had one, too. But her notes were color-coordinated. Orange for stolen credit cards. Green for stolen keys. Blue for steps required to replace her driver’s license, her social security card. And so on.
I love the way she moves through life. Even in a crisis she color-codes the chaos.
My poetry-writerly-notebook now has hastily written phone numbers to the police, to the security offices on campus, to the bankers who are helping shut down bank accounts. But in the same notebook are other notes from this past year because they help get me through . . .what?
What happens when the river overflows its bank? The river washes away.
Up until 1946 it was still legal to buy a mummy. I ask myself, I ask my daughter—why do I carry around notes like that? Is it genetic, she asks back? She flips first through my notes and then through her new notebook. Maybe she envisions the day when her notebook collects interesting eavesdrops: He’s not afraid to take a hammer to your car. But know this: you’ll have to accept whatever happens.
When the waitress takes our order, we nod at each other. Of course we both order Mac and Cheese. Comfort food is called for after spending a night chasing after criminals. Today is not the day for a healthy salad, huh. We are at once starved and unable to eat. But I am thankful to be with her today, to help her replace what can be replaced. And to examine the list of what cannot be replaced. Written in red ink.
Are you ready for a turquoise hat? This line written above the policeman’s direct phone number will one day make her laugh.