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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.

the lost years

I spent almost 25 years living alone in New York. There might be a moment on a shoot, when it became clear we would be running late. Phones were slid from pockets, as the crew had hushed conversations with their loved ones. That solemn, apologetic tone was the same no matter who was talking as they answered the question "When will you be home?" I had no one, nothing but an empty apartment and some dirty dishes. I had half-written books, and guitars leaning against the walls. There was film in the cameras, waiting to be developed.

I have almost no memory of these years now.

Right now, V is sick. Nothing terrible, but enough to stay home and parade around the apartment in her favorite pyjamas. N is cooking various treats for her, unable to predict which one she will actually eat. The doorbell rings, and it might be a doctor visiting from the local clinic but it is her sister. The rooms are full of conversation and fresh cups of coffee. I try not to step on the toys that are always on the floor. And now the doorbell again and it is the doctor, a blue paper mask already on his face. It is somehow afternoon, and V has been asking me to read her a book. But first, there is a list from N of things I should buy at the store. They have the right cookies at least, but no plums. The last box of raspberries was waiting for me. I buy a few random trinkets - a chocolate egg with a toy inside, a wristband that has blinking lights on it. Something for V to shout about, and maybe not break until tomorrow when her fever has hopefully passed.

And now the doorbell is ringing again. E is home, and she is hungry.

All of this, I will remember.


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