The center of the universe

Once, when I was a boy, there was a rainstorm. It rained for days and days. The roadside gutters filled up to my neck and I swam in them. Behind the house, through a ravine choking its course through brush and tree trunks, a thin waterway appeared. I discovered a floating log big enough to carry me a few yards downstream.

Later, I was on a fishing boat in an agitated sea. Swells crashed over the bow and buried the gunwales as we lurched up and down in the wind. Recklessly, I climbed outside the cabin into the weather, clinging with my hands to a cleat. I just lay there grinning as the boat bounced around and the foam poured over me.

I tried to write a book, and took long winding walks on dirt roads through deep country. A few steps into some berry vines, as if I needed privacy, I peed into the weeds. As my stream weakened I focused across the brambles to meet the eyes of a standing black bear, some dozen yards in front of me. ‘OK,’ I said, took a couple steps back and effected an indifferent saunter into the distance.

My friend got me very drunk and brought over a pair of pretty prostitutes. That was scary, so I went out on the street and fell into a taxi. I managed my way out of the cab and up the long flight of stairs to my apartment. Where I fell down. I enjoyed exquisite clarity. The keys were in my pocket, my hand upon the floor, and the door knob in the haze above my head. I coordinated these elements, with some commentary and over a few moments, with as little body motion as possible, until the knob yielded, the door swung open, and I rolled inside.

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