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the list

It was a simple request, but it took me months to solve it. Soon we will have guests in the house for V's birthday, and the cascading piles of notes and camera parts, the lopsided villages of books, the forgotten bowls of loose change - they all had to find homes. I even bought a collection of clear, stackable boxes just after Christmas, but they sat like empty open mouths gathering bits of fluff and dust in them until today. With little flakes of fresh snow dancing against the windows, I began at one end of the room.

The problem with cleaning is that you constantly find lost treasures, windows into your past lives. Here, a set of notes from a film I was writing some seven years ago. Here, the warranty for a watch I bought for N (that I still need to register). And next, a Soviet ruble that I bought in Tbilisi at the dry bridge market, the location of the lost wonders of the world. Next to a broken saxophone and an old rug, I remember noticing a handful of old coins that I bought…

two steps back, one step forward

The rooms are dark. Some of the luggage still sits in cockeyed piles. Mounds of clothes to wash and iron and fold stare up at me. Coughing, sneezing and bellyaching I wrap a t-shirt across my eyes and go back to sleep after I bring E to school. The wind knocks a door around on the balcony. I smell stale cigarettes from the hallway seeping under the front door.
Yes, I am back.

E is getting perfect fives. 
She tells me she has been saving her lunch money to buy a doll until I explain to her that lunch money is only for lunch. We agree to start giving her an allowance. 
She cries quietly, feeling terrible. I tell her it is my fault, for not explaining things well. 
"Yeah, you screwed up Pop." She says, joking past her wet cheeks.

Things have been breaking. My desk chair's wheels popped off one afternoon, split right down to the bone. The espresso machine sputters then dribbles and now it just sits with lights flashing. They were old. I am not upset. I have been buying things that E's mother forced me to get rid of so many years ago. A black leather peacoat. That orange guitar. A certain camera. A handful of books about angels and the Holy Grail. I wondered if this impulse to replace what had been lost and sold off was a good idea. It seems so hokey, such a soap opera urge. Will I really feel younger, seeing my reflection with this coat on my shoulders? No, that is not the reason. Is this all a going-back? A return, a second chance? No. I just missed these things. I want to pick up from where things left off, to continue with that certain inertia I had ten years ago.


Things break, M. Chairs, espresso machines, hearts... But your heart seems remarkably intact. So go ahead...Slip into that leather coat. And just so you know...You are the light of my Mondays!

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