“There is a dead whale. It rolls idly in the warm shadows of this island, among cartoonish sea animals with tentacles, suction cups, and goopy eyes. There are squawking birds leaking nearly colorless shit, and we are concerned with an unbearable odor and the must-be sharks circling nearby. This whale is lodged in the half-moon of the bay, and she can’t seem to drift past the reef, even with the water pushing out. Close enough that we can see her. We can smell her. We can breathe her. “
“I was eighteen years old, a privileged math prodigy with two graduate degrees. Having leapfrogged my adolescence, I imagined life ahead as an undulating Fibonacci sequence, in ever expanding perfect proportion.
When I first started baking challah, it came out looking like pita. I was pregnant and we’d moved to Colorado Springs. I had to go to the library to look up high altitude baking (this was in the eighties) and while I was there, I picked up an old book on a display shelf.