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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.


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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