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streetlights

There is no easy way to say it. I was married to someone I hid from. Tucking E into a sling, I would disappear for hours saying I was going shopping for dinner, and if she fell asleep the excuse was that she needed fresh air as I sat on a park bench with her tiny hand grabbing my pinky until she eventually woke up. I would make my way along the side streets of Greenwich as the sun went down, leaning into store windows but not going in. Eventually I would go home, and as I turned the corner there was a security light that would switch on - obviously attached to some motion sensor. In those strange and lonely moments, I would talk to that light. Each time it clicked on, I felt somehow that the night ahead could be survived no matter what madness waited for us behind the front door.

That was twelve years ago.

Another life, another country.

Today, I turned a corner in Moscow with an all-too familiar bag of groceries swinging from my shoulder. A street light flickered on and all at once I…

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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