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the white table

The days are not long. The nights are short. Guitars are hiding in cases, with scraps of paper tucked inside. The pen is full. There is a fresh notebook, with creamy pages. The little white desk is in the middle of the living room, a cascade of receipts and laundry perched on it.

I clean it off, have lunch as it stares back at me. This focal point, this fulcrum where my thoughts become real, this cheap folding table from Ikea. It is familiar, and patient.

fragile


As tough and bold as we may like to see ourselves, at the end of the day we are fragile beings. Our lives are balancing acts, crooked plates spinning on fingertips that can all come crashing back to the earth with the tiniest, unexpected nudge. It may be the cough of someone in the market that sends a handful of germs your way, or it may be something far more lethal. There is no real protection from what the world has to offer us. The good, the bad, the chaos, the rare triumph, the betrayal, the lie, the truth, the poison, the fake cure. The list goes on and on.

I wonder why concepts like fate and destiny are so enticing. Why do stories of love need to be such saccharine fairy tales to be "romantic"? The stranger's cough, is it an instrument of Cupid? If you get sick and someone offers to take care of you, is that not love? "Can I bring you some soup?" I do not think there are kinder words.

We live in a time when puppets are leaders. We live in a time when the truth is unknowable. There is nothing rare or special about this situation, but somehow it is a surprise. We are all vulnerable - to fear, to the common cold, to the bullets of strangers, to the tiny voices in our heads. We are lost, and have been for some time now. We only know what we think we know, and that is far from enough.

For the last three days I found myself under blankets sneezing and sipping from giant bowls of soup. The news trickled in, as it always does. The ugliness that appears almost every day on the other side of the world, reduced to numbers of the dead and names. Lives reduced to a headline. I am no more able to accomplish anything in this place I called home as I can here. There is no fever at least. There are no words.

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