Transition Lenses

tunnel_light

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” -Anatole France

Melancholy. That’s the feeling I’ve been trying to name.

I am not sad. I’m not unhappy, or disgruntled, or malcontent. I’m just, ever so occasionally, melancholy.

Several people who are further along in their parenting adventure told me that when your babe turns one year old, you begin to feel yourself again. As if the first anniversary is a magical switch that, once reached, will tilt the axis of your universe back to a more familiar (and less overwhelming) setting.

So as the fated date approched, I waited for a renewed sense of self. Some sort of assurance that I had gotten the hang of mum-hood while still retaining or regaining all the moving parts that made me the person I used to be.

And then September 2 came, and partied, and faded into September 3 and I felt no different than I had on the 1st of the month. Or on the 1st of August. Or July.

Don’t worry, I’m not sitting here all sad-sack thinking there’s something wrong with me. I believe that mothers, like babies, develop at their own pace. Just because other mothers have felt like life returned to some semblance of normality around the one year mark doesn’t mean that my sense of normal will behave the same way.

Maybe I feel this way, in part, because I waited awhile to have a child. My individual personhood (and couplehood with Bruce) was pretty well established for quite a few years. We had it down. And then, at 7am one Thursday morning, everything changed.

I changed.

And in the change, I lost myself.

It’s true that I’ve gained more in motherhood than I have lost. So much more. There are moments of wonder and joy that surpass anything I have ever known, that more than make up for the lack of sleep and the absence of time.

But that doesn’t negate the fact that the me who used to be is gone.

Sometimes I struggle with that. Sometimes I don’t know who, exactly, I am anymore.

After all, the learning curve is steep when you’re becoming someone new. You spend a lot of time admitting that you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. You stumble around. You try and you fail. You get overly nostalgic about the old routine, because this new one is incredibly uncomfortable.

So it’s only natural and fitting that on the difficult days and often in the dead of night, you mourn the you who is lost. Because you knew how to be that version of yourself. You had the playbook, more or less.

Now that playbook is undergoing a complete and total revision. And in order to embrace the new world order, you have to say goodbye to the old.

But sometimes letting go takes awhile.

So while I’m cocooned in this transition phase, while I’m releasing and embracing and fumbling around, I’ve decided to let the more creative parts of myself go into hibernation. It’s the only way to survive, really.

If I tried to be as prolific as I was pre-baby, to write even as much as I did when I was pregnant, I think my skull would implode.

It’s not that I’m not writing at all. I’m here, obviously. Just not as often as I used to be. Weekly posts have been culled to monthly posts. If I’m lucky.

I’m also keeping a journal for Lucette, trying to record all the little moments that slip too easily into the ether.

But I’m not writing for myself. The poetry is dormant for now. I miss it. I miss that feeling when the words start to click and flow and fit into place. I miss the satisfaction of a well-placed line break.

And I miss charting out new ideas for cinepoems. (In fact, I have a gorgeous one percolating that involves me, Lu, and a pair of tiny hats.)

I miss the more simple, selfish things, too. Like having entire Saturday afternoons to read a novel. Or weed the flower beds. Or obsessively re-organize my closet. Or do nothing at all.

Someday the energy, the creative spark, will return. Someday I’ll pull the poems out from their hiding places and build them a home of paper and ink. But not today.

Today I am going to change a poopy diaper. And find the missing white cow for the Little People farm. And read the story about the Busy Horses. And read it again. And again.

And somewhere between the highchair and the crib, I’m going to learn something new about who this mother-me really is.

I think it’s going to be great.

-Lo, who thinks that a world without the Cheeks in it would be a truly miserable place.

In Limbo

mood: ponderous | drinking: water

limbo

I picked up LeeLoo’s ashes today, brought them home in a small cedar box.

This weekend we will meet up with a few of her favorite people to let her fly free at the beach.

It’s been almost a month now since she left us, and I was getting to the point where I didn’t cry every time I thought of her. But when the vet tech handed me the smooth, heavy box, the reality of her loss crashed over me again.

I loved that dog more than I love most people I meet. She was a part, a big part, of the best years of my life, sharing the last 8 years with Boy and I, traveling with us everywhere that didn’t require an airplane.

We knew that change was coming… we’ve known it since the plus sign appeared on the stick in January. But somehow, losing LeeLoo made the end of our old life very clear, as if we suddenly reached the end of a book, closed the cover and put it up on the shelf.

And soon, any day now in fact, we’ll begin a new book. We’ll open up to page 1 and start writing a new era, one that includes Bean. Everything will be different.

But that’s the future tense. LeeLoo was the past tense. And right this moment, we’re in the present tense with not a lot to say. It’s a surreal time. We are living in the in-between, a weird frozen moment between what used to be and what will be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying all these last moments of alone time. I’m sleeping in, watching movies, reading books, getting facials and massages and waxes and mani/pedis. I’m loving all this time with Boy, just the two of us.

But every time Bean puts a heel in my kidney, every time I feel the cramp of a Braxton Hicks contraction, every time I try and fail to hoist my planet-sized body out of a chair, I’m reminded that this time is just Limbo. Here today, gone tomorrow.

I have no idea what the future will look like, but I’m hoping very hard that it will be even better than the last eight years. Because that would be pretty goddamn amazing.

-Lo, with less than 2 weeks to go.

The Mourning

mood: bereft | drinking: lemonade

loo_wait

Honeydew Melon

These are the heavy days.
I am weighed down by every hour.

Unwieldy with the delight of you
and cumbersome with her loss.

She would have loved you,
would have licked you,
would have introduced you
to the wonderful world of Dog.

But you have not yet arrived
and she is already gone.

Alone and ponderous,
I stagger through rooms
bereft of her sweet snuffling sounds,
rooms that await your newly born racket.
There is plenty of room
here for each of you

but not enough space
for my grief.

[written week 35]

-Lo, from limbo in week 37.

My Friend LeeLoo

mood: devastated | drinking: who cares?

the_leeloo

I woke up this morning to a world that’s just not right.

There was no LeeLoo snoring at the foot of my bed, and she wasn’t curled up like a peanut on the couch, either. There are empty patches on the floor in the bedroom and the living room, where her dog beds are supposed to be. The dining room is strangely bare of bits of kibble. The house is so quiet. The clock ticks so loud. And LeeLoo is just… gone.

It’s been nearly 8 years since Boy and I saw her picture on petfinder.com. A side profile of a small fawn boxer, sitting quietly with her lower jaw jutting about 2 inches out below her top lip. “That one,” I said. “We definitely have to go see that one.”

I remember walking up to the foster home in San Jose where she was staying and seeing her through the fence. She trotted right up to us, smaller than I had imagined. “I know who you are,” I said. Two hours later, she was riding home with us.

LeeLoo has been a part of our family through some of the best years of our lives, and some of the most difficult times, too. She’s been such a faithful friend to me. Boy travels a lot for his work, but I was never alone when he was out of town. I had LeeLoo. Our routine would just change slightly while he was gone. Instead of hopping onto the foot of the bed in the middle of the night, the Loo would pop right up onto the bed and curl up on Bruce’s pillow, within arm’s reach, every single time.

Boy is out of town for work again, but there was no LeeLoo on his pillow last night.

She was elderly for a boxer lady. We adopted her when she was 5, and she would have celebrated her 13th birthday this December. Pretty impressive, since boxers usually fall prey to cancer at a much younger age.

But LeeLoo has been healthy and happy for a long time, and at her senior checkup just a couple of months ago, the vet passed her with flying colors and said he thought she’d be around for quite awhile.

So I was making plans, having visions of LeeLoo and the Bean. She loved kids and babies, with those small deliciously lickable faces. I had imagined LeeLoo when we brought Bean home from the hospital, all excited at this new fun adventure we all were embarking on. It’s fairly heartbreaking to realize that Bean will never get to know her.

Everything took a turn for the worst 2 weeks ago when LeeLoo suffered a seizure on a Tuesday night. It took her about an hour to recover from it, and Boy was on the phone with the emergency vet while I sat by her bed and stroked her. She seemed to perk up off and on over the last two weeks, but now that I look back on it, she never really returned to “normal”.

After a battery of tests that revealed nothing, no tumors, no anomalies in her bloodwork, nothing but a mild heart arrhythmia, the vet was stymied and said that only further (invasive) testing would help us determine the cause for sure. But Boy and I didn’t want to put LeeLoo through all of that. She seemed comfortable, she hadn’t had any more seizures. She was just more tired than normal, so we were all taking it easy.

At 34 weeks of pregnancy, my walking pace is so slow that a grandpa on a walker with arthritis could pass me by, so LeeLoo and I were well suited for taking short, slow walks together.

That’s what we did on Sunday, with Boy, in Golden Gate Park. I took these pictures of her, I guess out of some sort of unconscious intuition that they might be her last. loo3

We had a fun walk. She was slow, and tired, but so was I. So we took plenty of time to smell odd-looking blades of grass and meander slowly through the park paths.

Sunday night I helped her climb up on our bed and she slept there, snoring quietly between us, until 6 a.m. I had to help her down the stairs to the back yard, since she was pretty wobbly. But I never thought, yesterday morning, that it would be our last morning with her.

Boy left for his out-of-town job, I headed to work and dropped LeeLoo off at our friends’, Trini & Kim’s house. They also have a senior lady dog, Reilly, and she and LeeLoo have been good friends for years now.

At 12:30 Kim called to tell me that LeeLoo had vomited blood and passed out. They were on their way to the vet. I left work and met them there.

All I had to say to the receptionist was, “LeeLoo?” And they rushed me to a back room marked “Staff Only”.

And there was my little furry lady, my best friend, my LeeLoo, weak and limp on a shiny silver table, wheezing for every breath with an oxygen mask over her muzzle and an IV of fluids in her right front leg. She rolled her eyes and looked up at me and I just kept telling her it would be okay.

But it wasn’t ok. As far as the vet could tell, she had suffered another seizure that had damaged the area in her brain that controls respiration and blood pressure. Her legs were no longer working, her breath was not coming easy, and her blood pressure was nearly zero. They think perhaps she’s had a small tumor, slowly growing on her brain for months, and all the x-rays never detected it.

“If I were you and she were my dog,” the vet said, “I would let her go.”

I had to call Boy and tell him. I know it was very difficult for him not to be there. I got to spend several minutes with her, saying goodbye and telling her that she was the best dog in the whole word. Not a hyperbole. To me, she was.

And then Kim and Trini came in and we all sat around her and petted her and loved her until her breath went away.

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was leave her lying there, so still, wrapped in her red blanket. I kept saying goodbye and then sitting back down and then trying to leave again.

I know she wasn’t there anymore, but it was the last time I’d ever see her, all the little bits of her that are so familiar to me. The scar on her hip where the Doberman bit her 6 years ago, the little lumps and bumps she’s grown as she got older. The soft flaps of her ears and the way she would sigh whenever I rubbed them. Her little chiclet teeth and her one-of-a-kind underbite. The way her long pink tongue would stick out and get all crispy when she slept. Her little footpads that smelled of corn chips. That little butterfinger tail nub that would wag so hard, her body would turn in a U-shape when you walked through the door.

I can’t believe she’s gone.

The house is so quiet, the clock ticks so loud.

I can’t stop crying.

Someday, I know, the ache will dull. Bean will be here, and Bruce and I will take her to meet a new dog, a dog who will ride home with us and become a part of our family and teach us new memories.

But that doesn’t change the fact that now there is no LeeLoo in the world. And we’re all worse off because of it.
loo

I told LeeLoo, when I was alone with her yesterday, before the vet came with the needle, that she didn’t have to fight for breath anymore. That her pain would go away and she’d go meet her old friend Yoda, and they would both be young and healthy and happy, and they could go to the beach and chase birds for hours.

I don’t know what happens to our fur friends when they leave us, but I hope that someday, we will meet them again.

LeeLoo, I miss you. So much, my little friend. You changed my life. I love you.
-Lo

loo_yodes
(LeeLoo & her old pal Yoda)

loo_henry
(LeeLoo and her “internet boyfriend” from Portland, Henry D. Monster, who is hopefully feeding her bacon cupcakes right about now.)

What Lies Beneath

mood: tired | drinking: agua

tsunami11

It’s hard to focus on anything other than Haiti this week — a country which, until now, hasn’t claimed much of my attention at all.

But the news of the earthquake followed swiftly by scenes of such devastation and horror have shattered my ignorance.

The pancaked buildings. The dazed survivors stumbling along the ruined streets, covered in white cement dust that makes them look like zombies. And the bodies, so many lifeless bodies, piled along the roadsides or reaching futilely from the wreckage.

I’ve been reading story after story, listening to news report after news report, and am left feeling so helpless in the face of such an overwhelming catastrophe. My friend Michael sponsors a child in Haiti, a 12-year-old boy named Daniel. He doesn’t know whether Daniel survived or not, and I keep thinking, “How will he ever find out?”

There will be so many who just disappear, lost in the rubble or buried, nameless, in a mass grave. It would seem that to not know what became of your loved ones, to not see their end with your own eyes, would be so much worse than finding them dead.

It’s all very difficult to imagine, but I can’t stop myself from spinning out scenarios. My home and Haiti have one major thing in common, after all: fault lines.

The strongest earthquake I’ve felt personally was a 4.5 — a slightly unpleasant shaking sensation. But just last Sunday, two days before the 7.0 flattened Port au Prince, an earthquake of 6.5 magnitude rocked Eureka California, a town 270 miles north of San Francisco.

In 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake tumbled freeways in the Bay Area, I was oblivious, attending high school classes in the flatlands of Illinois. I heard about the 6.9 quake, of course, but it had no context. It didn’t really mean anything to me.

But now, now I live in earthquake land, as do so many people that I love. And not just people–I love the places of San Francisco. The towers and the rowhouses and the bridges and the monuments. I love all these fragile things.

And I can’t help but think about what a 7.0 would mean to me if it hit here, if it hit home.

After all, this Tsunami Evacuation Route sign stands two blocks from my house, waiting for just such an occasion.

No, we aren’t Haiti. Our homes aren’t constructed of shoddy cinder blocks. We learned from 1906, from 1989. We have built better buildings. We have reinforced them with steel. We have packed earthquake kits and stashed them in safe places. We have evacuation routes and contingency plans and bottled water.

But we are not prepared. Not really. How could you ever truly be ready?

So as my heart reaches out to the suffering people so unknown to me, I whisper, “Thank God it wasn’t here. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t mine.”

And all the while I know it could be us, so easily, next time.

-Lo, not really earthquake-proofed.

DONATE TO HELP HAITI:
The American Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
Partners in Health
UNICEF
Yele Haiti

About What Was Lost

mood: transparent | drinking: liquids

test

Positive

I take the test on Thursday night.

I already know what the answer will be
but I need more than intuition
and swollen ankles
to prove it.

I place the stick on the sink,
peel off my clothes.
The purple plus sign begins to form
before I can unbutton my jeans.

I avert my eyes and turn on the water.

I stay in the shower much longer than necessary
draw the razor up to my knee
shampoo my hair a second time.
The katoush of my heart is louder than plumbing.

I want to be delighted. I want to be ecstatic.
I want to be something other than terrified.

***

I watch him as I walk down the stairs—
he only has a few seconds of ignorance left.
It seems cruel not to warn him.

But I carry no words,
only a positive plus
on a plastic wand,
which I deliver with unsteady hands.

The seconds it takes him to get it
stretch on for a hundred years.
But then
he grins.

We walk in the dark with the dog to the store
and buy two more tests.

At midnight, we lay three purple plus signs
in a row on the table and stare
until one of us starts to giggle,
and then the other.

We are giddy. We are hysterical.
We can’t go to sleep.

***

The next Tuesday, I begin to bleed.

It takes three days of doctors
to confirm what I already know,

and more than a week
for my body to expel
the tiny ruby bits
of a person I had barely begun to believe in.

When I am finally empty,
we grieve in separate rooms.

*****

The statistics say that 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and that more than 80 percent of these losses happen before 12 weeks.

I am a statistic now.

On Thursday, October 22nd, Boy and I found out we were pregnant. Our best guess put us at about 5-6 weeks along. On Tuesday, October 27, the day we got the keys to our new house, I began to miscarry. It took 8 days.

Just two weeks before that, one of my very best friends suffered a miscarriage when she was nearly 7 weeks pregnant. When it happened to her, I didn’t even know that I was pregnant, and of course had no inkling that I would undergo the same loss myself just days later.

I didn’t know how common miscarriage is, until it happened to me. For some reason, we tend to suffer the loss silently, perhaps out of some sense of shame that it was somehow our fault, or just the need to curl into ourselves during a confusing, frightening and painful time.

But what I have found as I have slowly begun to speak about what I lost, is that so many women around me have gone through the same loss. One woman told me she had seven miscarriages in the space of two years before ultimately carrying her baby to term. My own mother had two miscarriages before I was born.

As lonely as it feels when you’re in the middle of it, there are thousand and hundreds of thousands of women who bleed like you. Who know exactly how you feel. I wish their voices were louder.

I usually keep the most personal aspects of my life off the internet, but in this I do not want to stay silent.

It has taken me some time to process what has happened–I had barely begun to even believe I was pregnant at all. I know I’m not finished dealing with the repercussions of this loss. Neither is Boy. And we will deal with it together, privately.

But in the meantime I want to put this poem out there, so that somewhere, someone knows she is not the only one.

-Lo, breaking the silence.

Passage

Mood: Un-birthday | Drinking: Warm Dr. Pepper

casket

Today, my birthday, was also my grandmother’s funeral.

I was asked to do a reading during the service, and I read two poems, one that I wrote last Tuesday, the day after she died, and one that my writin’ group friends, Melissa & Kathy recommended. I’d like to share them both with you…

The End

I hear the sirens
from the end of the driveway
winding up Meheula
riding to the rescue.

It has already been three minutes,
three minutes and a lifetime.

On the floor inside the house
daughter cradles unseeing mother
rocking,
waiting.

The end comes
sooner than you want it to
and no matter how much you prepare
you’re never really ready.

Today in the dappled green park
birds flocked
to wheelchair and stroller
as side by side,
grandson and great
grandmother
flung crumbs to waiting beaks
and flirted.

Her last day was lived in the sun
lit up with laughter,
encircled by love
high above aquamarine waves.

It has been four minutes,
four minutes and 85 years.
The sirens spin closer now.
There’s no more time
to say goodbye.

***

Remember
by Christina Rosetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
gone far away into the silent land;
when you can no more hold me by the hand,
nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
you tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
it will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
and afterwards remember, do not grieve:
for if the darkness and corruption leave
a vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.

-Lo, in remembrance of Mary Ellen.

Last Call

lastcall
Mood: Pensive
Drinking: Water

Last Call

Years can be rough on voices
can wear them down
to the tiniest sounds.
His voice
like his frame
has shrunken with age
and the weight of regret
and has grown
so small now

even hearing aids
cannot help me
find it. Only the sound
of his breathing
survives the long miles

struggling across the frozen shards
of empty Illinois cornfields,
catching on the ragged claws

of the Rockies, blowing through
the dusty Californian cities
until it finally reaches me

on the other end of the telephone.
I don’t know where to begin
so I speak of insignificant things
like forecasts and geography.
I am soft and careful, listening

for the rasp and rattle that tells me

he’s still connected. But the
Tootsie Rolls are my undoing.
I mention them to remind him
of sunny days when I was small
and his voice was as big as a canyon.
I remind myself, instead

of his endless parade of feathered fedoras

and secret cigarettes out behind the
horse barn, the one he himself
hammered with bent brown hands,
of the certainty of years’
worth of twisted candy wrappers,
the chewy chocolate sweetness
melting slowly inside sandwich baggies
stuffed into grandfatherly wool pockets,
always proffered with a whistle and

a Polident smile. I am so much taller

than he ever was, now. And
it’s my voice
that echoes back across state lines,
traveling along snowbound freeways
and forgotten shortcuts,
spilling across his bed sheets and
pooling gently around his ears. “You can

go, if you need to. You can go now,”
I whisper and the silence slips in

and he’s gone.

-Lo, in remembrance of Grandpa.

so let’s be done with this…

Mood: older, wiser
Drinking: fountain soda

Her smile, the first time it appears, startles me. It comes without warning. It reminds me of you.

She gave me no clues that she had such a weapon in her possession. Nothing about her suggested it — not the crooked whitestrips teeth, not the shiny Mattel hair, not the suburban manicure or the pink lace bra playing peekaboo with the gaps in her button-down shirt. None of it looked anything like you.

But then she smiled and there you were.

The first time I met you, sullen and sulking in your plus-size, out-dated jeans, there wasn’t a smile anywhere in sight. Your eyes, heavy with silver shadow, didn’t lift from your knees. You chewed the ends of your hair and took up far too much space. I couldn’t decide if the blemish on your right cheek was a birthmark or a bruise. I couldn’t decide if I liked you.

But we were friends a few weeks later. You made sure of that. You asked me to lunch at a Burger King with no drive-thru. We picked at our fries, smeared the ketchup in circles, made awkward conversation, and left. I remember feeling sorry for you, but I can’t remember why.

It didn’t take you long to turn the tables. To ignite that 10,000 watt smile and melt all my reservations. I was so dazzled, I didn’t even think to protest. Or step back to safety.

I dream of you sometimes. We are giggling, conspirator-like, over coffee in a bright cafe. (Actually, it’s not coffee. It’s some other imaginary beverage, since I don’t even like coffee in my sleep.) But we are together. We are friends again. We are fine. We’ve forgotten all the reasons why this will never work.

The dream doesn’t last long. It doesn’t have an ending, either. Just fades away… You would pay for this information, wouldn’t you?

Ah, how you used to shine. The world was less bright when you were away. Less complicated, too. But I didn’t yet know the value of simplicity. So I let you attach me to yourself like a surgically enhanced Siamese twin. We were almost that inseparable.

Remember how they called us “the Twisted Sisters”? Or was that your name for our duo? There was such a stack of lies, I can’t remember which ones were true.

We paraded around as equals in our complementary platform shoes, but I always knew you were the one behind the wheel. You had the agenda, the vision, the ulterior motive. Left to myself, I would have spent all those years at home, buried in fiction. I would never have found my dancing shoes.

Perhaps I should have thanked you for that, for drawing me out, for showing me the world, the ropes, the intricacies of eyebrow waxing the way you did. But it seems now such a small compensation for the damage. And you didn’t do any of it for me, anyway.

You should know that you were the one who first told me you were crazy. It would have taken me so much longer to figure out, on my own. But you showed me the stash of stabilizing drugs in your bedroom closet. You blamed the defect on bad genes, bad parenting, bad luck, bad sex. But you brought it up first ? just so you know the insult is not random. Just to justify my means, in the end.

We were parked in my blue Celica the first time I finally believed you were dangerous. It didn’t start out as an argument, but it ended there, and I was the one with all apologies. You got me to repent of sins not yet committed, to confess to lies never spoken. And you covered your tracks with that smile.

Three times I denied you. Three times you talked your way back in the door. (There was no charm to any of it.)

My friends, the ones who knew you, would be horrified to know that, in spite of it all, I sometimes miss you. (The new friends would worry, too. Oh, they’ve heard some stories.) But they shouldn’t. I’m not dialing information. You could flash that smile all you want, now, but we both know where this would end. We’d both go around the bend. I’d hate you all over again.

I have hated you, yes. It’s no exaggeration this time. I hated you with a far greater fire than I ever used to love you. So I sold all your secrets, mon cherie. I exposed all your lies. I ripped doors from closet hinges and dragged your skeletons into the burning light. I made a public display of all your dirty laundry. For those few frantic months, I would have done anything to ruin your reputation. With mud, with machetes, with malevolence, as if any of it would make it better. As if any of it would make you go away.

I got tired of it, eventually. (Hatred is exhausting, debilitating.) Time and distance make everything look so much smaller. No, time doesn’t heal the wounds, but it certainly takes the edge off.

I don’t know where you live anymore. I don’t know how you’ve made your life. I don’t know which fads you follow or what you have done to your hair. But I’m sure, I’m very sure, that you’ve replaced me.

You’ve got some other girl hooked on your smile and you’re leading her on, mile after mile. And she’ll swallow all your stories (especially the ones about me). She’ll follow until it’s too late.

But I see through it now. It’s been years since I was fooled. And I am taking it back, finally, what you’ve done to me. My very cells are tired of knowing your name. So these are the last words I will write of you. There’s nothing left of you now but a substitute smile.

-Lo, who still has her dancing shoes.