My dear, she texted late last night, if you can spare me something, I need it for food, for medicine, for things in the everyday. How could I not respond? You cannot say, But I just sent you something less than two weeks ago. Mother, sometimes I feel the days slip like water through my fingers. And then the cycle of worry rotates— paddle wheel, boat going nowhere, ferry stuck between the shores of departure and arrival, while sun-worshippers zip by in motorized rubber boats. Putting away books on the shelf, I came across a friend’s inscription in a journal, given years ago. She wrote, Looking forward to our forties, when we will have made it; to our fifties, when we’re settled, and to our sixties, when we will look back at our lives to celebrate the harvest. I set it back and ponder this assurance: something I have never really had in such pure and unadulterated form. I am the queen of making-do, I’d joked back. I’ve saved all manner of odds and ends for use on a rainy day. Wrapping paper, shampoo samples, gift bottles of wine. But there is no contentment in these miserly economies, mother. I bite into bread, or fruit, or cheese, and some part of me shrivels with the shame of being unable to share these morsels with you.


In response to cold mountain (60).

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