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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.

 

Dusk and early morning look the same, share the same gray light. I am a mourning dove, cooing and crying. I replace the hot tears with a cool shower. When my hair is wet it swings in clumps of curls, dries straight. There is nothing to see out my window, doesn’t cure the loneliness of a gray and empty room.

I can’t think of his name. I drew his picture four times. We’ve spoken less. There is such great disquiet in my quiet soul it freezes in anger at any chance to free itself. I don’t know if I’ve always been like this, or if I’ve lost or gained something. My body learned how to feel anxiety as a pressure in my chest this year. Not all knowledge is useful or positive.

She is beautiful – she looks like someone I could love. Their laughter is silent, encapsulated in other. The person I am is in some other storybook, and I cannot read, and there is nothing to add.