A Few Words

My daughter drives through a thunderstorm while, in the passenger seat, I try to conjure all the terrible things she might drive through — sleet and squalls — as if my imagination can create a charm against bad luck for her.

It’s idiotic, I know, but I keep talking until she tells me I’m wasting my words. You keep using up words, she tells me, and you only have so many words to use.

I start laughing. Since when, I ask, is there a limit on words? Hello? As a writer, I believe words are limitless.

No, she says. You only have so many.

And then what? I ask.

Then, you die.

As she drives northward, the rain lessens, and eventually the pavement is dry. We wind through the loveliest landscape of apple trees bent under white blossoms, as if we’ve entered into a watercolorist’s landscape.

I had no idea, I say.

Well, she says, her eyes merry. Now you do.