You’re lucky. It’s always them and not you. The family trapped in the fire, the secretary slain in the parking lot holding her coffee and Egg McMuffin, the ones rushed to emergency after the potluck. You’re lucky you didn’t touch the tuna casserole, and went for the baked chicken instead. Your friend with breast cancer that was detected too late—metastasized to the lymph nodes, the lungs, a few months to live—lucky there’s no history in your family. Another friend’s fiancé, heart attack at forty-seven. You lie in bed at night, your head on your lover’s chest, and you’re grateful. Your teenaged daughter, unlike all her friends, hasn’t become sullen or combative, addicted to cigarettes or booze. She’s not in the bathroom with her finger down her throat to throw up dinner. You and your family are fine. You’re happy. It’s like you’re in your own little boat, just you, sailing along, and the wind is up and nothing’s leaking. All around you you can see other boats filling up, flipping over, sliding under. If you look into the water you can watch them for a while, going down slowly, getting smaller and farther away. Soon, if nothing happens to you, if your luck holds, really, holds, you’ll end up completely alone.
Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2000 BOA
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.