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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Monday, October 30, 2006

when things don't end as you expect

Reverted to Standard Time over the weekend; now at 3:35 p.m. the sunny day is drawing in. The weather has turned clear and crisp; it was freezing at dawn.

Kimmie wrote her final exam this morning for the in-house course "The Principles of Buying". She had studied diligently, getting me to help with math questions and even having me read a few parts of the textbook to try to explain passages to her. She felt nervous but confident and good when she set out just before 8:00.

At noon, when the exam was over, she called me, sounding subdued and disappointed.

"I baffed on it," she said. "I just couldn't come up with any ideas. I really don't think I did very well. On one question I was supposed to list twenty-five things and I could only come up with ten--that's not even half!"

"I think you did really well," I said. "You gave it your best shot. If you don't do as well as you hoped, it won't be from lack of effort. You had a bad day. Can happen to anyone."

"Yeah," she said glumly. "At the beginning of the course I just wanted it to be over--I thought about this moment, noon on October thirtieth, and how great I was going to feel that it was over. Instead I feel bad."

Soon she'll be home from work. Maybe it's time to light our first fire of the season--have that burning cheerfully in the fireplace while dark comes over the house early.

While I was taking out the compost this afternoon I found a little dead bird--a chickadee, I think--lying on the concrete in the alcove just outside the steel door of the common garage. I put on a pair of gauntlets and picked it up by its tiny stiff legs. Its abdomen had been crushed flat. Could it possibly have been crushed by the door? I wondered. Surely not. Its eye was a dark milky gray: lifeless. I tossed it into the yew hedge separating our yard from the neighbors'. It will be recycled.

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