Thief

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It’s October the first and my mind keeps stretching over vast blue skies and barren landscapes. When my Nana passed away around this time of year, I was those blue skies looking down from a metal death-trap hurtling through the sky at ravines mosaicing across red-brown like millions of arteries. My god, we are all suicidal, living life so carelessly. I haven’t seen my family in two years.

It is nice sitting here alone with my thoughts. I say alone, but I am sharing the view with a family of deer chewing on life lackadaisically. The early morning is overcast and heavy, still drowsy from the night before. Everything is glowing green with life electric. There are so many shades– which one are you? I’m jealous and it ain’t pretty.

There is an apple tree that stands tall above blackberry brambles, untouched, aside from the flanks of deer. The red is not a true red. It is the color or sin; it hurts the eyes against all this green. The apples are rippening, twisting on their branches, pocketing sweetness like a thief. It makes me think of reading Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio— sixteen and on a bus bench– “Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apple.” Funny how untwisted, how un-thief-like I was back then– but how sweetly his words dripped from my tongue. I am all thief now.

Mornings like this are the pocket of my sweetness; coffee, crosswords, and quiet reflection. How perfect to be the lichen on the table at which I write, cratering the bone surface like a full moon. Three words seem so much more hollow than this. I do not feel empty– I am a puddle of emotion, tucked between sanguine.

Jenn said, ” You are the family I chose.” And dammit, I hope I deserve it. I hate my macabre family reunions, as if our family only exists in death and at funerals– these miles and miles of telephone lines and social media are all facade. It is never what I want, keeping anyone at arm’s length, but it is family tradition. I will hold on tighter to the family I choose; break tradition so I don’t break my heart with loneliness.

An elderly man put his glasses on yesterday and said, “You know, you sure are beautiful.” I blushed uncomfortably. I didn’t know what he meant until sitting here now in a sunny copse of happiness, heart full and spilling out on page. A woodpecker tells a joke, rapping softly on bark, and a laugh escapes my lips to take flight with bluejays. There is nothing hollow in this, no echo when I say, “I love you.”

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