Look, Marcus—

I admit there are days your Stoic's playbook 
seems useful and wise: as when things that could never
possibly be in my control (like the hour of my death, 
or that of my spouse or children) cause me such pain 
and worry I lose sleep, get eyebags, get heartburn, I
forget where I put my phone and keys. But then
I remember that the word stoic also refers to someone 
supposedly indifferent to pain or pleasure, sorrow or joy—
and that's really what trips me up no end. I'm the type
who always cries when the evil stepsisters tear at the dress
of the youngest daughter, even if it was only a thrift
store find—their plan is to shame her so much,
she'll give up on any plans to attend the big shindig
thrown by the richest man in the land. But I'm also
her, wanting to find some way to leave her wretched
garret overrun with rodents, where at night she swears
she can hear termites devouring the insides of a beam,
all the way to its heart. There are certain kinds of houses
where space and the very air seem orchestrated to produce
the most shining light. Every surface is clean, and
minimalist furniture makes it seem too like a stoic's
dream. Sadly, all the houses I've lived in have been full
of stuffy little rooms, knickknacks collecting dust
but so connected to some beautiful, sentimental 
memory I can't bring myself to get rid of them. 
Marcus, were you one of the first to say 
whatever it is, you can't take it with you? If so, 
I want to know exactly how you know. Did you pass 
away and come back to tell us? And why 
are prisoners asked what they want for a last meal—
steak and mushrooms, champagne, burgers and beer,
ice cream, cotton candy— only for all of that
to melt from the tongue into limbo or oblivion?

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