The night before last, Marshall and I had a sad night.  His tinnitus had hit a jet-engine roar, and we still don’t know what’s causing it (and the dizziness, etc.).   I’d just gotten my French mid-term (which appears to be impossibly long and complex) and my reading list together for my thesis defense in two weeks, and I realized that it’s likely that I won’t pass either of them.  It’s felt like it hasn’t stopped being hard, this past month, and we keep not getting enough sleep—ugh.  As we don’t usually do, we prayed for each other, and Marshall asked God for some special gift, moment, or event to happen to me the next day.  Needless to say, I was on the lookout for it since the moment I got in the car the next morning and headed to campus.  I tend to be hopeful like that.

At lunchtime, Marshall called me and we talked for 30 minutes about epiphanies he’d had, talking with his dad on the phone.  Epiphanies—mine or someone else’s—always part clouds, whenever they happen.  Gift 1.

I met Dr. Smith that afternoon to talk about the defense, and we went over things, and after intimating (as he should) that I ought to already be fully aware of Blake, Keats, and Wordsworth, he told me that my thesis was stunning.  He told me that he doesn’t say that often.  He then chuckled to himself, and said that he couldn’t remember the last time he’d said it.  Gift 2.

That night, I had my first poetry reading on UT campus—the Commission for Women had put together a reading in the Hodges Auditorium and I had been invited along with one other Phd poet, an MA fiction writer, and a Phd fiction writer.  I had exhausted myself all day trying not to think about it, but when it finally was time to go up and make some small talk and read into a microphone, things started to run smoothly.  I could read without being visibly nervous (according to Marshall), I cared so much about what I was reading, and those people out there were totally listening.  I could almost hear them taking the poems in.  I was awed.  At the 20-minute Q&A afterward, I answered two questions, and did not make an ass out of myself.  Or if I did, Marshall refused to tell me.  Gift 3.

Last night Marshall didn’t sleep again, though, rottenly.  Gifts come interspersed with suffering.

Waiting for spring.