This is what I remember about the call: The heat seemed unbearable that day. My light silk shirt stuck to my back by the time I walked home. Seven minutes in the sun and my air conditioned apartment felt like nirvana. I’d missed a call from my agent, and I called her back before I even got a glass of water. I slumped into one of the arm chairs, almost out of breath, demanding to know what I missed. The white chair exhaled a burst of cold air when I sat down, the cell phone turned slippery in my sweaty hand. My agent said “well” and drew the l-sound out for a long second.

She said other things, but those I don’t remember. I have them written down in the black patterned notebook where I scribbled notes from all our conversations. I vaguely remember being told not to quit my day job yet. In my notes from that call a trio of words stand out, the lines darkened as I went over them and over them with my pen “Three book deal.” Over and over again, because if I wrote the words that dark, wrote them so they couldn’t be erased, then they’d be more real.

That was June, and now the heat is a distant pleasant memory. I dream about being hot again as the spring winds beat my window. Finally, the contract they offered is done, the terms worked out, the pages marked with all the important signatures. Months ago, when the sun was strong, I thought the call finished everything. Now I know everything was just getting started.