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All the things I need are sitting next to me, unused. Another package arrives for us at the post office, full of more. My nose aches as it is carried for twenty minutes through the cold air outside, covered with a mask for 7 minutes, then carried back home for twenty more. Just above, my brain wonders if last-years’ boots still blend in with the Berlin scene. They could use a polish – and of course we have some at home, sitting on the shelf, waiting.

At home, flowers are pink and yellow and purple, soaking sweetly in slightly yellowed water. They don’t know about the recent snowstorm. They don’t know I’m waiting to hear from you. They are just flowers, pink and yellow and purple.

The laundry machine swirls. Does it smell like vinegar in the kitchen, to you? I used the rest of the bottle this morning to clean the black mold out of the place where you put the soap in. If your clothes smell faintly of fish n chips from the seaside, this is why.

My head aches like a hollowness. There was so much and is so much still coming. Packages and life and dentist appointments we need to make next month and airplanes and phone calls and feelings. She’s so little but she’s starting to see it, too: the depth of all of this. The distance. The places you have to walk in your big girl shoes. The height of an airplane up in the sky. The memories of snow-people you made last week, last year, before it all melted away into something more. The ways you keep changing, the ways people keep changing – good and bad. The sunshine and the darkness and the way trees look covered in too much snow.

Sleeve Season: I’m learning how to sew sleeves. Making things from other things is special. Historical. Important. Useful. Hopefully doesn’t end tragically. Come over and watch, we’ll make something together, end it all with a big group hug, surrounded by sleeves, screaming, stuffing more things into this life, stuffing more arms into sleeves, more arms around our loved ones, keeping them safe from this life that’s ever-changing – good and bad.

The grounds swirl at the bottom of my coffee cup, proving gravity exists as the sun rises. You won’t notice them as you sip your sweetened caffeine, don’t worry. This is European Style I tell myself. In reality it’s probably poorly done, but it makes me happy pressing down the plunger – a sense of satisfaction. Today, I did something. I pressed a plunger down and I made some coffee that tasted pretty good at least to the standards of how it usually tastes when I make my coffee which is pretty much every single time I ever have coffee.

This year has dragged on and drag-raced away. Somehow the plants have kept growing and the windowsills always need to be dusted again. Families have felt deep loss, countries have faced harsh realities, the world has taken a collective breath and held it, trying not to breathe on one another.

As the sun comes up and the level of coffee in my mug goes down, I think about power. The power of the wealthy. The power of kindness. How hard it is to be kind when you’re powerless, with no resources to your name. How easy it is to be kind if you make the choice, despite how the world has shown itself to be.

The very best people I know struggle to live the way they want to. The most deserving humans whom I love, suffer. Talent, goodness, and kindness are left to swirl down the drain along with the remnants of my morning coffee. These are the things we don’t care about.

The sun is all the way up now. We see exactly what we are. The lights are on bright as we string up more lights for this holiday season, as we fill and refill our mugs full. We know what we are, you and I. What shall we do about it?

 

It is what you wanted to do and it can still be what you want to do.

Gathering the ancient Christmas decorations from their crushed boxes, giving them all their yearly dusting, freeing something else too.

Some people are parts of you. Some people struggle to be until they stop struggling and try somewhere else.

She is beautiful. She is strong. She is confident. She is smart.

It is only finished when there is no room for anything else; the universe is expanding.

It is over now, I wrote our story down, and wept when it was necessary for me, and the tissues gathered up the love I still had. It is all for everyone else now, and they accept it, and they love. Everything is new and you are rotting somewhere old.

We will be happy again, and still, and people watching will think we carry laughing gas in our pockets but it is only in our hearts.

The snow is falling in a way it never has and never will again. Watch.

He is some creature in a cloud. What is real attachment? How does it all end, so easily? Little bits of spider web stretching, breaking. They are only the repeating song in your head – does that exist?

He marks his skin with dates. He will die, become flattened, back-packaged meat on a metal bed. Little green clovers wrinkled and lacking sweat.

Sweet boy, we will all grow up. It is some terrifying thing, marking time with someone else, on a field of our lives. Is this why people watch sports? Easy rules and bad calls really are no matter. Pay the big boys big bucks to keep us looking away and thinking about yellow flags.

She thinks she is as smart as me. I laughed at her. Perhaps it is only clarity; I don’t watch football.