When we exhale

I’m full today. Popped like corn, the kettle kind. Sweet and salty. I’m listening to soft songs from Ingrid and all I know is that I feel happy, that I imagine singing one of the songs to my boyfriend when we get married. I have to learn how to play it first, but I have time. I have lots of time because marriage is just a word, a big party for our families at this point and for us to celebrate the fact that we’ve made it this far, so far.  We are already building something beyond the word of marriage.

We slept terribly last night. I woke up at 3:46 am to be exact. Wide awake and I never do that. I thought about getting up to write – I’ve always loved the idea of writing during the middle of the night, those writers who can do that, who wake up with their words spilling from their minds. But my bed was too warm and I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it. Our baby kitty was curled between us in the crook behind my legs. She likes that spot best and she steals my covers, they both do. I find myself banished to a sliver of the bed, but I’m small and don’t move around much anyway. And I like to think they gravitate toward me, that they just want to be close to me. It felt good last night. Despite the motorcycle noise and the cat waking Pat up at 4 am for food (I also like to think she’s smart enough not to wake ME up. good Tula. good Tula) Licking his hand and a cold nose and licking his hand. He got up for her like he’d get up for me if I asked.

My friend has a bench on the opposite side of her street and we sat there last night. I was trying to see the moon again. The fat, drunk moon. She was lounging in a black bath of sky. She was smoking a cigarette. My friend and the moon. “I’ve spent so many lonely nights on this bench,” she said to me. She and the moon. But I wonder if her telling me gives her another soul to sit with. At least now I can imagine her sitting there, a string shop behind her, cellos sleeping and lit with night lights and she won’t be alone in my mind. I’ve always thought there was something beautiful about a woman sitting by herself in the dark smoking a cigarette. I don’t smoke, but just to be able to do that I’d start. To suck something in and blow it out, to actually watch it blow out of you. They always look off in the distance to something that is or isn’t there. And there with her thoughts – even if she is alone – there’s always the moon or thoughts of people you love, thinking about them thinking about you and thoughts and hopes and feeling full and even sadness – it all seems to orbit around us keeping us company. It all seems to be the stars and planets we watch in the sky, squinting to see if it’s really moving and burning or still and blue. I’d like to say I placed them there, jewels in the sky, in certain patterns, that it was my plan because they look so much like they’re for me and for her and for all of us and for me.

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