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Breathing the right air

Nothing brings more comfort than a bag of good things to cook, swinging under your arm as you make your way home. Somehow it blots out the rest of the world. In these moments, the entire universe consists of a late afternoon sun, a stray dog and a clump of flowers growing strange and wild in a yard. A hit of basil jumps from my elbows with each swing of the bag, a gift from one of the ladies I buy from the most. I visit markets without intention, just eyes open ready to discover fresh peas, or the first corn. Knowing that these products will disappear as quickly as they present themselves creates a certain form of excitement. Each season offers up this rhythm and without it I might become completely lost.

I think of when we were in Tuscany a month ago, feeling like such a tourist until I wandered out along the highway and found the local vegetable stand. I shoved squash blossoms and tiny tomatoes into a bag, rushing back to our room like I had robbed a bank. I made pasta with them th…

the prisoner


I watch her sleeping, as I have on thousands of nights like this. Her hands are loose, lost in some raphaelite pose. A whistle pulls from her nostrils. A window is open, flipping the curtains and the covers are pulled tight around her. At least she has this peace, I tell myself wandering into the kitchen for a nightcap.

Her days are consumed by pens and pencils, drawings of girls having slumber parties on polka dot sheets, of her imaginary version of Central Park where hotdogs are free, of a house in the countryside. We play card games at the kitchen table, shoving the empty plates to one side after lunch. We take walks to buy some fresh trout, or blueberries in the afternoon.

I ask her how it feels to be forced to remain in the city while all of her friends are on the ocean, or in the country with grandparents.
"It is ok." She tells me, her voice small and breaking.
"So you don't feel like a prisoner?" I ask.
She rests her hand on my shoulder.
"No, because I am with you." She explains.
I squeeze her next to me.
"But yes, it makes me sad." She adds, after a moment.




Comments

liv said…
there is simply no way to express the feelings after reading that - no words - no words
Rachael said…
This is beautiful. Utterly freaking beautiful.

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