Wednesday, December 21, 2016


I step toward the door and it slides open, as if to invite me into the night. The cold is a kiss, and then it is something deeper, digging past my skin to muscle and bone. Cars shine and blink and breathe at the curb, people cart and shove. Behind me, two men smoke until all that's left is ash. I look into darkened car windows as they approach, willing the people that appear faintly behind them to be someone I know.

I am here. They soon find me and scoop me into their car. He takes my suitcase, I open the door. My niece and nephew, their hair still impossibly golden, their smiles gold to me after six long months of seeing them only on a screen and in the faint memories I can conjure. They ask me if I'm hungry and hold up a golden bag of red gummy fish: that sweet, familiar string that connects each visit with the last and, inevitably, with the next to come. I pull my own out of my bag. I remembered, too, I tell them. My niece holds out her hand for the one I am ready to give her. The entire ride she is laughing too loud, is told over and over to calm down. My nephew makes a joke about bathroom habits and we all laugh too loud. He is pleased.

My smaller bag is heavy in my lap until my niece offers to take it onto her own, a show of strength and care. She rests her head against my shoulder for just a second before popping up again to make a joke and laugh again. On the other side of me, darkness lies still outside of the window as we drive fast on the highway towards home.

(photo: dtla... not where i have arrived this time)

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