What I Want You to Know About Salad

A few months ago, you made me a salad for the first time. You were on winter break, and I was trying to work remotely from the extra bedroom. I was spending the day having awkward team meetings on Zoom and testing out variations of “I hope that you are doing well during these trying times” to start my emails. You were (I thought) perched up in your room watching hour-after-hour of YouTubers playing video games. (Why you wouldn’t just play the games yourself, I have no idea, but I guess even six-year-olds have discovered ways to be less productive during the pandemic.)

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What I Want You to Know on the 16th of February

Nineteen years ago today, my father died. I talked to him on the phone a few days before about bowling. We laughed about having no finesse, only speed and the hope of ricochet. Then he was gone. I was on a road trip with friends. This was before cell phones and text messages and easy access to emails. We got to a friend’s dorm and the friend told me I needed to call home. Somehow a neighbor from home had tracked me down. I knew something bad had happened but thought a grandparent had died. I spoke first to my sister, who was hysterical as she broke the news to me before the neighbor came on and asked to speak to one of my friends. I stared out the window while they coordinated travel plans to get me home. As I sat there, I realized he had been dead for hours without me knowing. I couldn’t understand how the world hadn’t instantly felt different the moment he left it. I felt numb for days, like I was living someone else’s life. And then I saw his body at the mortuary and the shock that had been holding all the pain above my head was torn away and I wept like I had never wept before and never did again until

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Comfort in Failure

New soap in the bathroom smells nothing like you.

But the old pump was stuck. What else could I do?

I ordered a bookshelf you wouldn’t have bought.

It seemed a betrayal, essential or not.

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