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(looking for) the heartbreaker

It has been more than two months sitting at the little white table in the living room, writing. Pushing out pages, fixing these pages, living with these pages then waking up and chewing them apart again, then adding on a new section. It is a mill, grinding the raw ideas down to a fine powder that may somehow rise and become bread. Or it may not. So many thoughts begin with "what if". What if they get stuck in an old elevator? What if she is not home when they come the first time? What if she is coming back from the market and passes them on the stairs? What if the driver is older? Or younger? What if his brother shows up instead? The questions are greater than the results on the page, the dialogue is whittled down to nubs of something recognizable.

There are cold cups of coffee, emails that go unanswered. The light comes and goes, and most of the work is done in the dark in more ways than one. Cooking dinner helps. Playing some guitar helps. If you are not careful you forge…


I am sure you have had a week that made you think the sky was actually falling. The sleepless nights, the long talks in the kitchen that begin with "What if we ..." and then the long stares out of dark windows, the murky sounds of the neighbors shuffling around. We are all living on quicksand, and are just good at pretending we are weightless.

There are weeks when it all comes crashing down.

I went to the store, and bought some potatoes, sour cream and a little container of ikra (salmon roe).  At home, I grate the potatoes, squeezing them over and over to get the moisture out. Then a big red onion, and half of a zucchini that was hiding in the fridge. One egg, salt and pepper. I fry the pancakes in batches, letting them turn golden brown, flipping them more than once. They drain on paper towels. There is music playing in the warm room, as the windows steam up. We are all at home. V is running around like a cartoon. N is on the phone with one of her relatives. E is lost under headphones.

"Dinner is ready." I announce, and they trickle in.

There is a bottle of prosecco that has been rolling around the back of the fridge for a year or so. I find myself cracking it open, pulling the champagne glasses down from their high shelf. I make toasts to our family, to our future, to our success. There is nothing else to do but face the grim realities with an open heart. My fingers are greasy, as I eat with my hands until the plate is empty. The roe pops against the roofs of our mouths.

Maybe there is a way to float across the quicksand.


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