So nice you could make it. I rarely get visitors here. Let me show you around; it’s a bit cramped, so watch your head.

    Over here, we have my shelf of triumphs, both personal and professional. I was going for kind of a minimalist look, as you can see. Frankly, all that extra room gives me something to think about while I’m working out on my hamster wheel, but we’ll get to that later.

    I store my resentments in this refrigerator, which keeps them fresh. Some of them, like drivers who cut me off in traffic, arguments I’ve had, I tend to throw out after a while, but some have been there for years, from the boys who didn’t ask me out to the editors who rejected manuscripts. Look at this one: still just as sharp as it was ten years ago. Goodness, I didn’t realize how full it was getting. Maybe I need to upgrade to a walk-in.

    And this is the hamster wheel, where I can just take anything I’m thinking about, like the look someone gave me at the grocery store, or a new gray hair, or the presidential election, and just run with it for hours. Want to try?

    You’re right, it is tiring. That’s why I keep this funk so close by; I can sink into it in no time. It’s probably where I spend most of my time when I’m in my navel.

    Which reminds me — we’ve been in here a while. We should probably go. Oh, watch your step. Those stairs out can be tricky.

    Whew! That was a long, hard climb, but it’s so much easier to breathe out here. I always forget how different it can look. Wow. Look at all of these people! Basketball players! Halal butchers! Teenagers who cut themselves! Musicians!

    Hey, that group of kids over there looks interesting. Let’s go hang out with them for a while.

    This is great. I really need to get out more often.

Jeanie Chung’s fiction, interviews and essays have appeared in upstreet, Stymie, Drunken Boat, Writer’s Chronicle and elsewhere. She is co-director of the Sunday Salon Chicago reading series and is working on a novel-in-stories based on her experiences as a sportswriter covering high school and college basketball.