Monday, February 7, 2011


Last Friday, my grandma watched her dog Heidi slump to the floor in her last few seconds of life. My grandma called my dad. After a drive to the veterinarian, they both sat in the car, immobilized, crying together.

This city was hit with a tremendous wall of white powder last week. When the snow melts, everything neglected will be revealed. I forgot what spring feels like, but I try not to complain; I am thankful for the seasons. I am thankful for the differences.

When I was little, I was comforted by the warm little light emitted by my dad's lit cigarette. A cheerful red ember would bounce up and down in the dark as he climbed the stairs after me, chasing me to bed. When he calls me now, we talk about rock and roll and football and the weather. Over the years, I've wasted too much energy convincing him to quit smoking.

In the past two months, I've come to accept that my maternal grandfather will soon die of cancer. I called him yesterday -- the first time I've reached out since finding out that he was dying. We had a one-minute-long conversation. He told me to take care of myself and enjoy my life, and then he hurried himself off the line.

I am dating a boy with Crohn's disease. At 27, he drinks Ensure and eats Gerber baby food and it secretly breaks my heart to pieces. Occasionally, to my delight, he indulges in deep-fried greasy garbage like pizza and hot dogs and french fries and bacon. I am not disappointed. We celebrate the victory of successful digestion. I've stopped taking my stomach -- and my youth -- for granted.

I keep different hours every day. Sometimes I sit on the train at 5 AM, achey and resentful, staring blankly out the windows at the dark morning backdrop. My feet and hands are like concrete until I step off the platform and scurry my way into work. Sometimes I run so fast to catch the train at 11 AM that I forget to notice the rare gleaming sunshine or the same homeless man by the newspaper stands. Sometimes I exit the train at 9 PM and a flood of anxiety washes over me; I hate walking home alone at night. On a good day I am home before 7. On a good day I have dinner plans before 6.

The human body is a well-oiled machine. The human soul anticipates rust. We are a delicate collection of bones and blood, and last week was a bad week for everyone I love. I nestled into my covers and slept almost twenty hours straight; it seemed no amount of pastries or cartoons could rebuild my immunities upon waking, but somehow, I've made it here to tell myself this: don't break down just yet.

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