influenza. there are no medicines available for what has ailed me and the cough comes deep and with green ghastly phlegm now. momentary no smoking. and no classes. aced a midterm coughing and chewing on leudens throughout, tissues wadded in hand and palms sweated and shoved into the coat pocket. sixty degrees outside and i'm wearing the full winter artillery. hat, gloves, scarf, wool pea coat. bundled up and coughing unable to bike the rest of the way home, i call a friend to drive me up the hill. seems to me the last contact i've had with the outside world. went home for the weekend for my sister's birthday. jon's as well. decorated the cake in the car and saw katie allen and her brother paul walking by - jon and i bang on the windshield to wave hellos. goodbye. and the sinister feeling that though it is not cold yet, as it should well now be, winter has crept and bonded itself to my heart. i could not get the classes i wanted for next quarter and have decided that i will either commit myself fully to the life of the writer, as the writer must be, up late and smoking cigarettes and drinking, typing at the computer the story of the girl, whoever she may be, the composite of me and everyone i've ever met, killing herself slowly, or quickly, but surely dying - or i will most likely hate my life and die it slowly or willingly or somehow. it is how the story will go. and these are not options that i have set before me, on the table, lined up like choices or the holy grail of my life, but rather, these are the choices as i know them to be, as i know it in myself to become. this is what my future looks like. and i am banking on you, the reader, to read. or, as it is more likely to happen, for jon to make enough money to support our future as we have deemed it with our satin finish nickel-plated whatever (probably bathroom fixtures) and the red, red walls of my living room with books. me, writing. because it has come to my attention, and perhaps to everyone i know's as well, that i am a writer and that i must write. that i must write my fictions and my poetry and my vision of the world in all its watercolors and nightmares. that i must write my story as it occurs to me, and my experience as it is experienced by these eyes, this heart, flesh, blood, bones. dust. i am book ended, as we all are, by my past and my future, and i cannot for the life of me, take my eyes or my mind off of either. birth, death, and all that lies in-between, collecting memory and soot. i see my future stretched before me in the great cyclical nature of the universe, spiraling beyond me, outstretched, waiting. i cannot tell you for certain how it will occur, but i know inside of me all about its foothills and deep, reaching valleys. i know all about its tangles of intent and miscommunication, about misinterpretations of me and what i say, who i am. i know about the lies and the heartbreak. i can see all of it spiraling out beneath me in the past. i know that it will all repeat in infinite cycles. and my grandfather is without tumor now, yet in texas, intensively being cared for, unconscious. he is dying. it is not certain, but likely, and i am to make the decision right now about staying or going. i have decided to wait. i will wait to go until the immediate future is clarified. because i have responsibilities here. i have invested thousands in passing this quarter in school, and i have decided to try to do it. this decision is not without feelings resembling regret. but going could not be felt without regret either. there are turkeys to be baked and dressed. there are hearts here to be mended. perhaps that process is lifelong anyway, though. perhaps this heart will never be mended. it has not yet been successful. it seems likely that success will never reach the arteries. there is no certainty with anything, however. there is no certainty worth citing anyways. the apartment is spotless as of today, and there is satisfaction in that. yet not much hope for the future. sadness is trying very hard to overcome me, to envelope me. much like the disease with no cure, it spreads and is fought off by blood cells or by brain cells, and much like this ridiculous war, it is never certain which side is winning. at least not by my watch. there is no way to measure it. there are no words to hold it, no language to clarify or explain. water slipping through cupped hands and so on and so forth. there. i've hit on it finally. words with which to articulate the texture of my life - water slipping through cupped hands.