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no invitation

We are at a 3 year old's birthday party in the back room of a cafe. Music is pumping from a tiny speaker. Balloon animals are popping, and waving in the air. A man in a yellow dinosaur costume dances wildly. Parents snap pictures with satisfied smiles on their faces.

A little girl approaches gingerly and stands in the doorway, straying from her parents somewhere inside the restaurant. She cannot be more than three. It must be hard to ignore all of the noise coming from this room packed with celebration. There is a perfect little pony tail at the back of her head. She hesitates, as one foot poises in the air and then rests back down. How to understand that she was not invited. How to understand the laughter, the loose jumping bodies, the presents piled high on the window. None of this connects to her. There is a little plate of food waiting for her back there, in the quiet restaurant. Maybe a warm bowl of soup, thick with noodles. I watch her for some time.

That night, her empty e…

coming clean


There are handfuls of parables floating around the world, about knowing yourself. They fit neatly on a t-shirt or a coffee mug, maybe a meme superimposed over an image of a dark pool of water with one drop in it. The question, "Can man know anything, really?" it has been reduced to a parlor trick. Post-truth, the answers are all custom-fit.

I find myself thinking of the days when we had a rotary phone, and a party line. Waiting for the neighbors to be done talking and eavesdropping a little each time I lift the receiver. The tv was black and white, small in a corner of the living room. We only got one channel, so it was either on or off. I had to be told that the Incredible Hulk was green - to me he was gray.

Waking up feeling lost has become familiar. I'm not going to live in a tree or anything, but I feel like putting distance between the fire hydrant of news bytes and the rest of the world. There is actually an entire world out there beyond screens and paranoia, past the latest tragedy and the next one. I am beginning to take comfort in the fact that I know less than I would like to. It feels good to come clean.

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