Today I helped a girl in fifth grade with her multiplication and division.
In between problems she sometimes asked me questions about my life.
She asked, “What is your dream job?”
I stayed quiet, so she said, “Like, if you could do anything, what would it be?”
I tapped my mechanical pencil and looked at her.
She deserved a real answer.
I said, “I’d be a writer.”
She said, “You’d write books?”
I said, “Yeah.”
She said, “Like science stuff or stories?”
I said, “Stories.”
She said, “You’d write the stuff I see in bookstores?”
I said, “Some of it.”
She looked at the long division problem I wrote on the loose leaf paper in front of her.
Then she said, “That would be hard.”
I knew she wasn’t talking about the problem.
Today was her last day. She said goodbye and left with her mom.
They drove away in a nice sedan with tinted windows.
I walked to my trusty coupe, chewing on almonds.
And I couldn’t stop thinking about the way she said, “That would be hard.”
Because it is hard being a writer.
It’s damn hard.