Lying on an outdoor lounge chair next to a pool. Germany. I was nine or ten. My parents had several aspirational friendships with people much wealthier than us. It was a borrowed life, for an afternoon. A test drive in a car we’d never buy. Their family mirrored ours, sort of: two kids, the oldest a boy and the youngest a girl. The money came mostly from the wife’s side of the family: publishing. It was her parents’ house that had the pool. There was a lake house on the shores of Lake Como, too, but that was another day. My brother and I were visiting. I’d been swimming, and got out to lay on that recliner next to the pool house, soaking up the sun. I felt like I could stay like that forever, listening to the other kids splash and shout; the soft, civilized chatter of adults….But then a cloud would move in front of the sun and I’d shiver, goosebumps rising on my damp arms. One cloud took so long to pass I opened one eye and stared at it, then squeezed my eyes shut and started counting, silently, in my head: a countdown to the sun returning. I don’t remember when my counting ritual began, but I have counted so many things….In this case, seconds until the return of the sun. All the thousands of times since when a cloud has blocked the sun, and I’ve shivered, I picture the lounge chair overlooking another family’s pool. And I will the sun to return, just as I did then.