The randomness that spews forth from my mind

We All Die Alone…

Shame and regret. Those are the feelings I have when I think back on those afternoons. This is always how it plays out in my mind’s eye:

I walk slowly down a dark hallway. It is late in the afternoon and no light makes its way into the hallway. The wood floor is painted a glossy black. Her door is at the end of the hallway. Sometimes I can hear a television on behind the door, other times silence.

I open the door. Inside my grandmother waits for death in an upholstered chair. She is pointed towards the television (which may or may not be on). Her eyes are glazed over and milky white, cataracts cloud her vision. The scent of urine is in the air. She is quietly talking to herself. She is alone. She is lonely. The feeling hangs in the air. Her only friends are on the television or in her head.

My heart rate increases. Something in my abdomen twists. My palms feel clammy. Sometimes I say hello. Sometimes she hears me and responds in kind. Sometimes I just quietly close the door and walk back out of the darkness.

She speaks only occasionally during the day with my mother who is her caretaker, but whom I think still has a difficult relationship with her so doesn’t spend more time then she needs to. In the evenings my father spends much of his night with his mother in mostly one sided conversation or watching television. While she was with us I could have been another voice. I could have been someone she could talk to about her life and about her pain.

I was a teenager scared of the age and death I could smell on her. I knew she was alone and lonely, and yet I did not have the courage to go in there and sit and talk with her. I could not face my fear of death.

Seven or eight years later she would die and I would cry at her funeral. Why? Because I knew I had lost something. I knew I had squandered so many opportunities to connect with this person. I had let my fear prevent me from doing that most human of things, being there for another human being, being there for a family member.

It had only been a couple years earlier when I had been alone. My friends severed their ties to me, made me a pariah. I knew what it was like to be lonely, but instead of easing that loneliness, I ran from it. It was as though I thought loneliness was a disease, and that I might catch it from her.

I still see myself treating some people I encounter in a similar way. If I get too close or talk too long to the homeless person I too might become homeless. If I get too close or talk too much to the disabled person I too might become disabled.

I am not proud of this part of my past nor of its affect on my present. One day I hope to face this fear and more regularly connect with all the human beings I encounter in my life.


I was riding the subway recently and saw a family whom I assumed were tourists – they had that midwestern feel to them. A mother, father, and two teenage daughters made up the quartet. The shorter (and I assumed younger) daughter had that look about her that you knew guys would be fighting over her soon. (If they weren’t already.) The taller one was cute but there was something strange about her arm. Thin white lines like hash marks making their way up her arm, like a ladder without rails. I thought to myself “this is America in microcosm: two corn-fattened parents and two beautiful daughters, (at least) one of whom is a cutter.”

I am not entirely a stranger to cutters. One or two of the women in my life had been cutters at some point in their lives. I spoke with one of them about it once and her reasoning made sense. She said it was a way of exercising control in her life where most of the time she felt she had none. When she felt she was losing control she could open the safety pin she kept on her and stab or rake herself with it. It hurt, but it reminded her that at least in this one way – how/when/where she would experience this specific pain – she had control over her life.

I have a strong caretaking drive. (I assume due to my father taking care of my mother for most of her life.) Experience has taught me this is rarely healthy for me, but in my youth it drove me towards certain women. I believed these women were in trouble, but I could help them. I could save them.

Reading the zine Limbo brought back some of these thoughts. It is the story of a girl who becomes a ghost in her own family as everyone focuses on her older sister who is a cutter who has recently called a suicide hotline. Much of what I read rang true.

When you are part of a family where one member requires caretaking every other family member’s lives take a backseat. (Especially those who are providing the care.) In that world of constant crisis, people tend to lose themselves in something, whether it be the act of caretaking, work, or alcohol. A certain amount of guilt arises when you think about how your needs aren’t being met in the situation. You know this member of your family is struggling and suffering so much more than you are, and yet you feel that you are struggling and suffering too. You compare the two and see that the other person has it worse, so you feel guilty, but you still have to do something about this pain you have.

Some people just swallow and push the feelings deep down inside, thinking themselves stoic. Others self medicate with food or drink or sleep. A coping mechanism must be found there shouldn’t be any guilt attached to whatever is chosen.

Creative outlets are a constructive way to deal with these feelings. I think this is partially why Limbo exists. I am glad it does. I am glad zines can be a place where these subjects are discussed, that there is no stigma attached to producing something that airs what many might call “dirty laundry.” If you don’t get things like this out of your system, they can lead to bigger problems further down the line. Trust me on this one, I know of what I speak.

Zine Reviews

17 Strangers
Katie Haegele

At first I thought the little 2-inch-by-2-inch booklets that came in the package might be part of the zine. It turns out they were just freebies filled with poems from I approve!

I put the little booklets and the thing actually with the title 17 Strangers on it in a little ziplock bag and tossed it in my backpack to read later.

17 Strangers had been in my stack of to-read zines for a while so i had forgotten what it was about. The cover though certainly points you in the right direction. On the brown-paper-bag cover is a “HELLO my name is” sticker with “17 STRANGERS” written in pink sharpie on the sticker. To me, this says that I am going to be introduced to (however briefly) a number of people I have never met before. That was exactly what happened.

17 Strangers is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” writing experiments or challenges. Haegele presents for us seventeen brief sketches from her life where somehow a stranger affected her (at least enough for her to remember them).

Some of the sketches are of brief moments shared with strangers where a common shared experience is created in an instant, like on a subway car when something completely bizarre happens and you turn to your neighbor and ask them “what the fuck was that?”

Others are of those strangers you see regularly but never interact with, like the guy who you see walking down the street every few weeks who dresses like a pimp from a 70’s blacksploitation film.

Still others are of those strangers who affected you but you never even saw, like the person who crushed the bumper of your parked car and then drove off.

What I am most impressed with though is how well everything works as a whole to point towards (from many different directions) the idea of the “stranger.” Haegele offers no introduction nor closing statement and yet she doesn’t need to. It all just works.

Glass Orchid #6

Once again the people behind Glass Orchid bring us a tight package of vinyl obsession. This time around they focus on The Mission, a folk/pop group from the 60’s and 70’s made up of (initially aspiring and eventually unconfirmed) seminarians!

The story (as is often the case with Glass Orchid) starts out randomly flipping through vinyl at a Goodwill. There the future object of obsession is discovered. From there the research is done and the story comes to light. We are told the story of a group of seminarians who thought they could be a force for progressive change by playing music for the masses. The tale has highs (such as getting signed to a major label) and lows (such as their getting dumped from the seminary) but always has the hope of changing the world for the better.

In this issue we are also treated to the final installment of the David & Anthony saga (started in issue four), a review of an ultra-violent Hong Kong crime film, and a few music reviews. All of this is wrapped up in a lovely cover giving nods to both HP Lovecraft and the classic Chick Tracts!

Journals and Zines

I’ve been looking over my old journals lately. The first entry I read documented the death of my mother. I read about my first marriage falling apart. I read about supporting my first wife and myself on a tiny paycheck and feeling trapped. I read about my first trip to NYC. The earliest entries were from ten years ago. So much has changed since then.

What struck me most after reading the entries was that for the most part, I recall things pretty accurately. There really was a time when we were just scraping by and having to rely on credit cards. I really did have a brutal three months where my first marriage fell apart, I was told my mother had 3-9 months to live, and then watched my mother die

Sometimes I question my memories. Sometimes I wonder if I over embellish them with depressing details. The entries validate my memories.

I don’t come from a tradition of documentation. My family didn’t document their lives. There were school photos, photo Christmas cards, and photos of weddings. That’s it. Maybe they didn’t want to live in the past? Maybe they couldn’t afford to pay for a camera? Maybe they didn’t have time to keep a journal? I don’t know. As such my own journaling has been a conscious effort, not a familial habit.

Looking back, I wrote when shit was going downhill, not when times were good. There are multi-month chunks of time with no entries. Those were times when things were going well. I wonder if I was just trying to enjoy the positive experiences to their fullest and wanted to remember them as they happened, hence not writing anything down.

I have been reading a bunch of zines and zine collections as of late, mostly perzines (personal zines). I am truly amazed at both the unbelievable lives some of these authors have lived and at their willingness to be completely open and honest about some of the most difficult topics people can write about. What can I draw from my life that will speak to other people? This is the question I struggle with. This is what sent me back to my journals.

Zine writers don’t always care about the structure of their stories. Sometimes they just want to say “this thing happened to me.” What intrigues me is that this isn’t seen as a flaw. Zine readers will put up with bad writing if they connect with what the author is saying.

In general the main ways of getting zines are finding them in a store and buying them, getting the author’s info from somewhere and buying directly from them, or sending the author a copy of your own zine hoping they will reciprecate.

I think the last of those might shed some light on the willingness to put up with bad writing in the zine community. People who make zines know how much time and effort and money and toil goes into these things. They know you have to be passionate and have something you truly want to say and get out into the world to take this route. Maybe people want to honor that effort.

I think it is the person to person connection, you know someone is going to listen to you. With the Internet all you can really tell is whether someone looked at your page. That doesn’t tell you whether they read it. When you get that zine directly from the author I think that connection greatly increases the likelihood that the work is going to be read.

I think this is a world I want to become a part of.


I rinse the blade in the stream. Blood clouds the water.

I always return to the stream. When His man pitched me over the bridge, so long ago, these rocks broke my fall, broke my body. I still dream of that flight from bridge to stone.

As the sunlight fades I walk the mile to the woodcutter’s shed. I must sleep before mother comes. She told me He will be feasting in Dormsmort this evening. She said she knows a way in where the guards will not see me. He escaped again last night. Somehow.

Even before I see the shed I can hear the woodcutter hunting for the axe. It is no longer his, if it really ever was. As I walk up, the last of the purple light fades from the sky.

I shout to him: “As I tell you every night: I have your axe. I will cut the wood. Rest.”

He still smells of rot. He sees the axe, grunts, and sits down next to the shed. He leans against the wall and closes his eyes. The blood washed away a long time ago.

I go inside. I return things to their shelves, right the table and cot. When I hear the woodcutter’s snoring I lift up the loose board in the floor and put the axe beneath. I replace the board.

I sleep. I dream of the axe. I dream of that first night in the woods.

Rocks slip under my hands as I crawl from the stream. Bloody hair splits my vision. I head towards the sound of wood being chopped. My neck aches from keeping my face off the ground. The smell of rotting leaves fills my nose. It takes hours to get to the shed.

His hearing must have been poor, yet he hears me crawling in the brush. He splits a final log and walks over. He looks me over, grunts, and gently picks me up.

I awake sometime later on the cot. In my arms is the axe. There is blood and some sort of gray flesh on the blade. Hair is caught where the head meets the handle. I feel whole. I feel strong.

It is daytime. When I step outside the sky is steel gray. I walk around the shed. The woodcutter sits on the ground, leaning against the shed, a huge V splitting his skull.

I do not scream. I return to the shed, find some salted fish, and eat. I sleep again.

I awake to my mother calling me from outside. I get up and step outside. My mother is nothing but a moonlit outline some ways ahead. The rest is shadow. A breeze carries a sickly-sweet scent past me, a scent I will later come to associate with lust and rage and sheets when older, but now is new to me.

I begin to walk towards her but she tells me to stop. She says I must avenge her. She says He dishonored her.

Something twists in my gut. Something draws me back to the shed. I feel my name being sung by a nameless tool left in that shed.

I wake. The moonlight streams through the doorway again. My mother’s scent comes to me on a cool breeze from the doorway.

I feel the axe. It wants to be in my hand. It wants to cleave arms from their sockets, cave in skulls, and quarter bowels. My heart begins to pound. I remove the floor board. I take the axe follow my mother. Mother is always ahead of me, whether I walk or run.

Hours later we reach Dormsmort It looks much like the other forts we have visited over the years. She leads me to an overturned cart some yards from the fort. She retreats as I approach, but continues to point at it. I quietly crawl under the cart, finding stairs going into the ground.

I follow the steps with axe in hand, blindly making my way down a long hallway. As I walk, the sounds of feasting get louder. Music plays, dogs bark, cups shatter.

Ahead, a line of light slowly comes into focus, revealing itself to be a slit between two small doors. I move to the slit and peer out. I am in a kitchen. Heat hits my eye and I blink, tearing up.

A voice shouts for a toast, tables are pounded, and legs rush past the slit. I wait, slowly open the doors, and enter the kitchen. Something falls to the ground behind me. I turn to find a young man with His face about to scream. I hurl the axe, His face splits in two.

I walk back, pull it out, and see I was mistaken. He did not have His face. No matter. He is here somewhere. Mother is certain this time.

I carry the boy deeper into the kitchen and take his uniform. After stuffing his body into a cupboard, I dump flour over the blood stains. I put on the boy’s uniform, smile, and head towards the hall. I look for His face and find it everywhere.

Somewhere, my mother is laughing.


I live in a big city. Every day people stand on the streets begging for money. Seeing people beg upsets me. I become physically ill. It also makes me question my personal values and those imposed upon me by society.

Why does society leave these people with no alternative except begging for money? Why am I uncomfortable having any kind of interaction with them beyond that of a financial transaction? (It is a transaction. The receipt for which would include Assuagement of Purchaser’s Guilt, Purchaser’s Experience of Seller’s Gratitude, and Purchaser’s Feeling of Having Helped A Fellow Human Being.)

What prevents me from starting a conversation with this person? Would they accept a conversation as an alternative to a financial transaction? Would they use the conversation to increase the likelihood of the financial transaction occurring?

Why are we taught as children never to talk to strangers? Why is a stranger more dangerous than someone we know?1 Why do we continue to believe this as adults? Why doesn’t this rule apply when money is involved? (People begging on the street have to talk to strangers because the more people they ask the more chances they will receive money. Similarly when strangers enter a business the employees must talk with them so as to increase the likelihood of their becoming paying customers.)2

What troubles me most about this situation is the discrepancy in power. The person with the money is in a position of power over the person without the money. They get to decide whether the other person will have to interact with them or not. The customer is always right. This is because the customer has the money and you (or the business you work for) want the money. I hate this. I see abusive patrons of retail or food places lambast the people who work there. The workers believe they have to put up with it, for fear of losing their job. Why can’t the situation be one where if the patron gives the worker shit, the worker can give them shit back and tell them to leave? If the patron didn’t like the meal, they don’t have to pay for it and they are welcome to leave.

Outside of situations where it is assumed strangers will talk to you (like bars), when are we comfortable with this happening? Does it require a common experience? Walking down the street I see someone wearing a shirt from the college I attended. I can talk to them once I explain we went to the same school. If I and another passenger on the subway see something outrageous happen, we can talk about it and other such experiences.

Religious beliefs appear to have a similar effect. If a stranger shows up at a house of worship, it is assumed they are a member of the faith. They will be spoken to and invited to be a member of the local group. All of this happens based on an assumption of shared beliefs.3

Why can’t our common experience be the fact that we are human beings? We have all grown up and gone through similar experiences. We might not have experienced them together, but we both have been through those experiences before. We’ve all been through breakups.4 We’ve all been scared before. We’ve all been happy before.5

Why does seeing this person in need affect me so deeply? Am I particularly empathetic? Is it because in the past I have been in dire financial straits and have had to beg family members for money? (ie a common experience) Is it because I worry I might be in that place once again in the future?

Who benefits from the continuing distance between myself and this other person? I can’t see how either I or the other person benefit (other than financially, in which case the benefit is only temporary and one-sided).6 Who benefits from people who have something in common feeling an unbridgeable gap between them? Who benefits when people see others begging and feel that at any moment they could be in that other person’s shoes? Who benefits when we fear the other?

  1. Stranger danger! IIRC statistics show a child is more likely to be abducted or abused by someone they know than by someone they don’t.

  2. There is discomfort anytime money is involved with family or friends, though. An anecdote: I grew up playing boardgames with my friends, it was one of the main ways we spent time together. I have recently found there is a game store in my city where you can pay the employees to play board games with you. This feels very wrong to me.

  3. Many religions say to welcome and take care of the stranger. I think most translate this to mean “a member of the religion you have not yet met,” not just any stranger.

  4. Relationships are something most people have experienced. Yet they are one of the things they tend to be the most guarded about. Is that because they are seen as only between the person and the other member of the relationship? Thus making discussion about them with anyone else something that goes against the taboo of talking to strangers? (ie the other member of the relationship does not know the stranger, thus cannot give their permission to talk about them) That said, people will talk to friends about the relationship – people who already have experience or connection to the other party. Or they will talk to their therapist – someone they pay to talk to.

  5. Maybe this is why people read. They find this other person (the author or the character) who has done or felt things like the reader has. They (at least in their minds) have this friend to talk to for a short span of time, who seems to have something in common with them.

  6. The Free Hugs people seem to prove the opposite is true. When two people who have nothing in common beyond their own willingness to hug another person come together, both of their lives are improved.


I returned from SF recently. I went to college in the Bay Area and my company’s headquarters is there as well. Most of my college friends still live there. I left the Bay Area six years ago for New York.

I assumed when I moved here that either I would get closer with friends from work or I would find new friends. Six years later, neither of these things have really occurred, or if they have they are now strained by changes in people’s lives. In the back of my mind though, I saw myself as still part of that community of friends. I’m not so sure anymore.

Over those six years those friends have visited NYC individually. As they have I have heard about their lives and through them the lives of other friends. I understood in a theoretically that they were a community and deeply involved in one another’s lives, but never saw it explicitly. This gave my mind the chance to continue its belief that I could still be part of that community.

Visiting these friends in SF though, I feel that possibility slipping away. I see now that they have moved on with their lives – as a group. They have moved on without my being a part of that group. A number of them will be getting married soon, I wonder if I will be invited. Where in the past dinners with them would go on for hours, full of conversation. Now conversation dries up quickly because I am not a part of their world and thus don’t know the people they know who they normally would talk about.

I have another friend who had moved to NYC from the Bay Area. She was here a year or two when she had a major health incident. She has since moved back to the Bay Area because that is where all her friends were, where her support network was. I saw her when I was out there and she said she might have been able to stay in NYC if she had found a partner out here, someone to ground her. I got lucky and found a partner out here, but if I had not I might have done the same as she did.

A partner though does not a community make. I have been able to somewhat become a part of my partner’s friend group, but that doesn’t fill the void of real friends. If anything it might have been a crutch I thought I could lean on. A crutch isn’t meant to be used indefinitely.

Maybe it comes down to shared experiences. In college you meet people and stay with them to develop a history of shared experiences together. It is from this foundation that your future community can be formed. When you are unmoored from that foundation you won’t be grounded in another community until you have had shared experiences with those other people.

I am going to have to find that group of people and put in the time and effort to have those shared experiences.


We recently got a puppy. She doesn’t let us sleep as much as we used to. I tend to be the one who wakes up with her early in the morning. A few weeks ago I slept poorly and was in a foul mood in the morning. When the puppy was getting into something she shouldn’t I swatted her away. Unfortunately I did so in anger and with strength. I literally shoved her a few inches in the air and into the nearby wall.

She was wary of me for the rest of the morning. I felt horrible. I tried to “make it up to her” by giving her treats, feeding her breakfast immediately, etc. I felt sick the rest of the morning. This wasn’t the type of person I was. I didn’t hurt dogs.

As someone who was the victim of violence a lot as a child (mostly bullying) I tend to be passive. I don’t like violence and go out of my way not to be aggressive. As I have grown older though and been tired and frustrated and exasperated more times in my life, I have come to realize that the possibility of aggression and violence is there inside me.

My mother was a believer in spanking. For one reason or another she felt it had a place in parenting. I assume this was because she was spanked as a child as well. I am sure she truly thought that I “learned a lesson” when she spanked me, telling me all the while what lesson I should be learning. What I learned was to fear my mother. I don’t think children (and certainly not dogs) learn from the trauma of violence. Your mind is focused on making the pain stop, or just surviving it. Maybe afterward you try to use logic to figure out what you should have done differently, but the likelihood is you are too young and immature to remember that lesson in the future. Young children (like dogs) do many things because they are swept up by emotions and feelings and ideas, not because they have performed some sort of calculus weighing the possible outcomes and coming to a logical decision about the next action.

Although spanking (or beating) is certainly counter-productive for children learning anything useful, it is a release for the parent. It allows them to vent their frustration and tiredness directly on the cause of those things. It is one of the few times that society fully allows them to become violent and inflict pain and suffering on another human being without fear of legal consequences. So in the heat of the moment, a parent will do what feels good to them, even if they are saying “this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you” as they do so.

In actuality I think there is a second thing children learn when they are spanked, beyond the fact that they should fear their parents, they learn that it is okay to hurt their children. A primal lesson is ensconced in their brain and some day in the future when they have a child and they are tired and exasperated and frustrated they will make use of that lesson. They will teach their child the same lessons they learned at the hands of their parents. The same one their child will teach their child.


My brother-in-law is an intuitive cook. He rarely makes use of recipes. I on the other hand rely on recipes for my cooking. I may have cooked something ten times, but I always cook it after reviewing the recipe. I might make minor changes here and there based on missing ingredients, but I still need the recipe there as a guide. The recipe has been tried and tested and published based on its previous successes. If something doesn’t taste good, but you followed the recipe, you can blame the recipe, not the cook.

Although undiagnosed, my mother likely had either borderline or narcissistic personality disorder. What this meant in practical terms was that she was moody and almost anything could set her off. She could be loving one moment, and then the next be screaming at you, set off by some minor thing you might have done. The common refrain is “it’s like walking on eggshells around them.”

As a child I spent a lot of time with my mother. She was a stay-at-home-mom until I was in middle school. That meant I needed to figure out what would set her off and what wouldn’t. The logic I think I eventually developed was a reversal on that old line “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.” In my case it turned into, “it’s easier to ask permission than to receive forgiveness.” I think my child-logic was, if she knows what I am doing, or I do what she tells me to, then she can’t possibly get upset at the outcome.

A corollary to this rule was don’t upset anyone, and if you did, figure out how and never do it again. That was my modus operandi in elementary school. Other than doing well in my classes I tried to not make myself stand out. Sadly, this rarely worked. I was a target for bullies and was regularly beaten up. I would always, afterwards, try and figure out what it was that I had done to make them want to beat me up. I came up with theories and would implement the conclusions of those theories, and it would never help. (Behaviorists would probably see this as the development of superstitions – ie the application of logic to something illogical.)

Eventually I filled the role of the class whipping boy so well that even other kids low in the pecking order started picking on me. After this went on for long enough I finally snapped and fought back. Bad idea. Especially because I did this in front of a teacher. I was almost suspended. The lesson I learned? Don’t fight back, don’t step out of your role, or something even worse than what you are suffering might come down on you.

This mentality made its presence known in my first marriage as well. I would ask my wife permission to go hang out with friends for an evening instead of just telling her I was going out with friends. This wasn’t because she demanded it (she always said yes) but that I wasn’t willing to be wrong and possibly upset her. This unwillingness to stray from the norm and try something new was definitely a contributing factor to the failure of that marriage.

How do you go against that internalized mindset of “don’t rock the boat or there will be hell to pay?” I think there are two things that can allow you to do this. One is determining that the consequences actually aren’t as dire as you feel they are. The other is with the support of people who genuinely care about you and your well being. If you know there are people there who will catch you, it is much easier to let yourself do something where you might fall.


You walk down the stairs past the bedroom window. It is dark and quiet. You open the gate and close it quietly behind you. You unlock the door and open it. She isn’t sitting on the couch. You’re about to call out her name and say that you are home, then you remember why she isn’t there and you stay quiet. The thing in your gut twists.

You hear nothing. You are so used to hearing the television on in the bedroom where she spent so much of her time, but you hear nothing. You’ve come home to a silent apartment before, when she was out of town on business, or visiting her parents. That silence you never minded, possibly even enjoyed. This silence is different. That silence had an end. Knowing there was an end to it you didn’t mind it. Maybe you didn’t even notice it. This silence has no end. This silence makes you focus on it and the reason for it. It makes you think about that thing you don’t want to think about. The thing in your gut struggles to free itself. You push it back down.

You do the things you do in an evening. You eat. You read. You go to the bedroom. You don’t want to go to the bedroom, but you go anyway.

You see the bed. Its just as you left it in the morning. There are fewer clothes strewn about the floor than there should be. There’s a pillow missing.

You change into your pajamas and go to the bathroom. There’s a toothbrush missing. There’s three bottles of hair product missing from the shower. You wash your hands. You go to wash under your wedding band, but it isn’t there. There’s just your finger, slightly white and indented.

You go back to the bedroom, set your alarm, get in bed and turn out the light. You have an urge to turn over and say something. You have said this thing almost every night for the last three years. The words meant less recently than they did in the past, but you said them anyway. Instead you say nothing. You stay on your side. You could stretch out, but you don’t. You don’t roll over, throughout the night if you feel the urge to roll over, you stifle it.

You sleep sounder than you have in the past, but when you wake up, you forget for a moment, and you look over, you look over like you have for at least a thousand mornings in your life. You see the sheets covering a depression in the mattress, a space that will never again be perfectly filled.

The thing in your gut makes it’s move. It wants out. It starts as a wail and gets louder, then breaks up into the regular beat of sobbing. You find a pillow and stuff your face into it, momentarily worried someone will hear you. It just keeps going, or so it seems. Eventually it stops. You pull your head from the pillow and look at the ghost face left by your tears. You turn the pillow over and find something to wipe your eyes with.