i was dropped off on a long highway that turned into an avenue, with two huge boxes each about the size of a kitchen table, and one extra suitcase. it was very late, which is to say in the predawn hours, so the streets were largely empty, and the house where i was going was on top of the hill somewhere, the hill dense with apartment buildings and houses under street lamps and stars, through which wound narrow streets. the boxes were not heavy at all, i could carry one at a time. but there was no way to carry two at a time, and a suitcase besides. as usual, i had to figure out a way. then i awoke in chico, calif., on a chilly morning at the thunderbird motel as the sunshine slanted down main street and melted the frost. and i had no boxes and a no suitcase to carry and everything was better already.

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