The first was that I was no longer in pain; I could sleep.

The second was that I was finally able to love: all my life I had been more or less shut.

The third was that I lived near a pond. Watching the mallards dunk made me laugh. I was happy looking at dragonflies and even their empty exoskeletons, their shells shaking a little in the wind.

The fourth was that sometimes I felt rinsed clean and at peace.

The fifth was that sometimes — not often — I knew when I was locked into my story.

The sixth was that I didn’t die young, locked into that story: I knew I wasn’t the only one who had a violent father.

The seventh was that I was interested in pebbles, lichens, and sticks, which were everywhere.

The eighth was my group of friends: Barbara, Shirley, Jerry, Judith, Bonnie, Mario, Mija, Eric, Angelique.

The ninth was writing.

The tenth was that I didn’t want to be a torch, but a candle.

The eleventh was that I could see a stripe of light on an alder trunk and draw it, and even though it might not turn out to be a good drawing, I had noticed the forest.

The twelfth was that I could see a therapist, who walked me to the door and said, I hope things are better next week.

The thirteenth was that I lived close enough to the sea to smell it.

The fourteenth was that, when he stroked my hair, all the cells on my head lit up with delight, one after another.

The fifteenth was my dreams. They told me to start teaching. They told me to go north. They told me not to drive the next day. They told me who loved me. They were never wrong.