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February 28, 2010

This always happens in February. September’s hope rots into November frustration that I pick up off the floor in February and cradle with murmured lullabies. When the days grow noticeably longer, after I have “the best single valentine’s day ever” (which always happens in the most difficult years), I start to love the cracks that let the light in.

I always surrender in February. By now, I have the placement of the brick walls I keep crashing into memorized. I stop trying to run through them. Instead I run my fingers across them, gently, slowly, noticing their small grooves, sharp pieces, smooth indentations. When I’m not throwing my weight against them, trying to push through them, climb over them, move them – so exhausting and defeating – I notice their intricacies and strength. I look around at how they have created my place, and I lay down in their protection. I collapse under their watch.

N’s at the grocery store picking up children’s cough medicine; her four year old charge sits on the couch, giggling, coughing, squirming, in front of Tom and Jerry. I respond to a work email from the kitchen counter in my pajamas sipping cold coffee and aimlessly wonder if we’ll get snow. I’m not in class often enough to care about a snow day, my office consists solely of my laptop, I have to check the right hand corner of the screen to identify which day of the week it is. It’s a futile curiosity and a futile identification – everything has been so different these past few months, I’m not certain where to lay my concerns. So I spatter them out and watch them evaporate.

I count the minutes that pass and take note of what fills them. Stuffed with vacancy or the core of what matters – when all is stripped away, I live the moments in extremes. Notice how little Tom and Jerry speak and remember how selfless and gratifying it is to love a four year old. But I hardly know this four year old. These days I can’t carry the heavier things, so they effortlessly sustain me, while I watch vacant thoughts come and go. They’re visitors in my home, walking through the front door, entertaining me for a moment and passing through the back door. Not noticing that I am on the ground with my hands admiring the wall. It is February after all.

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