Alice Brooks turned 33 in November and wonders when she'll feel like a grown up.
When Alice was little, her athletic and college-basketball-playing father sent her to sports camp every summer, which she hated. Instead of participating, she spent her time with the littlest campers — helping the counselors and telling stories. In elementary school, Alice didn't have many friends, so she spent her time with the littlest kids — helping the teachers and telling stories. Whether Alice became a teacher because she was meant to or whether she just got in the habit because she was unpopular and un-athletic isn't known. After graduating from college, Alice moved to San Francisco with Jake, the boyfriend she'd had since her sophomore year of high school. Over the next several years, they opened a joint bank account, got married, and moved to a fancy apartment. Alice taught a variety of grade levels, got a masters degree, and wondered why she wasn't happier. After ignoring the inevitable for several years, Alice and Jake finally admitted the demise of their 10 year marriage in the summer of 2006. Jake moved out that November.
A year and several months later, we find Alice here: wondering why the divorce process is so long and tedious; living with two cats she loves in a distressing, cat-lady way; teaching high school drama to hostile, inner-city teenagers; writing picture books that are rejected with lovely personal notes from publishing houses; contemplating a PhD; piling rolls of film into the freezer while swearing she'll get into the darkroom next week; and wondering why she can't keep a plant alive.
In addition, Alice is currently, unexpectedly, in a relationship — a real one, with feelings and everything. This means that she has endless fodder for worry and overanalysis: regular dating/relationship fodder + "I haven't really dated since I was 15 and I have no idea what I'm doing" fodder + all the scars and neuroses left from ending a 10 year marriage. The practical upshot of which is that she's filled two journals in the last two months and spends a silly amount of time in her colleague/close friend's classroom hyperventilating.
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