“the hands upraised” by Sasha at her desk

Friday November 25, 2016
5 minutes
The back of a Buddha greeting card

I couldn’t sleep again last night. I don’t usually have this problem, toes touching the warmth of your calf, stretching into a dream. I woke you from almost-sleep, “I have the scares,” I said. We stole the line from our eight year old friend because kids are the most articulate in my books. Before I woke you from almost-sleep, before we brushed teeth and put socks and underwear into the laundry hamper, I had been edgy and grating and needy with you, asking “Why?” over and over, even when it wasn’t called for. Mostly when it wasn’t called for. Before the sixty three “Why’s” we had seen a play about a brothel in which a woman is sold into sexual slavery. Our friends were in it. On the way there, I sang along to the radio in the car as the rain slapped the windshield. We held hands. The play was really good, really painful, really vital – which is more than I can say most of the time. Maybe all the “Why’s” I threw at you were easier than the “Why’s” I really have, the thundercloud ones and the screaming ones and the throat closing sob ones. I’m sorry. You don’t have answers because there are no answers, you can’t give me the answers I need, you shouldn’t ever have to. Hands upraised, reaching for something, reaching for meaning, reaching for why, reaching for God.

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday May 3, 2016
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Grief looks good on her. At least that’s what people keep saying. Not directly, but that’s what they’re saying, under the tight lipped smiles. Mostly other women. Sometimes men, but it’s quiet, it’s less direct. She’s running every day, because she can’t sit still. Her feet shuffle when she’s at the table, opening the mail. She tries to write in the journal that her sister sent her from the New Age gift shop, but the pen won’t move. Meanwhile, her knees jump. She runs in the ravine, where the trees haven’t really changed since she was a child. She starts drinking all of her meals, unable to chew, almost unable to swallow.

“they like to travel the world” by Julia at her kitchen table

Monday, November 4, 2013
5 minutes
Kinfolk, Volume Nine

Michelle came in today. Hand’t seen her in over a month now, but I haven’t been counting so I guess I don’t really know for sure. She was alone as she had been the last few times I’d seen her. Wearing her long hair down to cover up the parts of her body she didn’t seem to like very much. I asked her how she’d been doing. She smiled sort of, but mostly with her neck if that’s even possible, and told me, “Oh, you know, trying to lose weight but mainly by trying to eat right and nothing else.” I was a bit stunned, in fact. The last time Michelle came in she had said something similar and I tried to mention all the ‘at-home remedies’ I knew to help her but she really wasn’t one for listening so this time I didn’t say much. I nodded my head and told her, “Great idea, it’s all about the nutrients isn’t it?” I couldn’t help myself at one point, tried to put my two cents in where it doesn’t belong, where it wasn’t needed. I said, “You know, have you ever tried those smoothies? You can put any thing in those!” And what I meant was those green things, the goopy messy ones. The ones with loads of veggies and fruits, and proper nuts and seeds and things. She smiled again, this time from her chin, and said, “I think those smoothies are what made me gain all that weight in the first place. It’s all that yogurt, eh?”