It is odd watching things burn. Watching an old Christmas tree branch spark to a quick bright life of light, only to darken to ash seconds later. Watching an old gas bill roar with orange embers as the amount due quickly becomes unreadable.

Lately, everyday feels like a battle. A phone call to my senator to urge him to oppose a radical Supreme Court nomination put forth by a corrupt and frightening elected individual. Another petition. Another e-mail. Another chance at hope. Hope that feels ever dwindling each day.

But, in these seemingly dark and cloudy days, there are still moments of joy. The routine of Thursday boba with friends followed by an impromptu dinner and a disappointing caramel cheesecake brownie sopapilla for dessert. As delicious as it sounds, it was a disappointment.

And as I arrive home for the night, I know I want to write. I want to write about something, but there are too many things I am mulling over.

Do I delve into the hurt in my grandpa’s voice when I told him that I won’t be able to make my brother’s graduation, which only became worse as I mention I might be on a trip for my sister’s graduation and during the next family vacation because of work?

Do I dive into how I still feel a need to let my other set of grandparents know that I will be absent this weekend? That as all of my family gathers to celebrate my brother’s accomplishment, I won’t be present. How long will it take for questions to be asked? What conclusions will be drawn?

Do I dive into how I have been thinking about my late uncle and his death all week as I listen to the podcast, Shit-Town? As the story twists and turns, I can’t keep thoughts of my own uncle’s suicide from my mind, as I can only imagine the pain he was in, but yet, tonight, those thoughts are conflicted again as my mom texts me information, which I assume she, and probably others, are using to try and change the suicide ruling to that of an unsolved murder.

Without an idea of what to write about or possibly with too many, I light a fire. With a few small logs in the chiminea, I add random pieces of paper I have been hoarding for the last year and lifetime.

A bill for the CR-V I traded at the end of August quickly catches alight.

As does a coupon for a free oil change at a dealership in Oklahoma.

As does a list of blood work results displaying a low count of vitamin D.

A Thank You card from my sister thanking me for the Barnes and Noble gift card, which she used to buy the second Magnus Chase book crumbles into a glow of orange, and I wonder, just for a moment and certainly not for the first time, what she thought of the trans character in the book.

An electric bill from my first month in my apartment after moving out of the first house that I wanted to be my home burst into flames as I remember the panic I felt upon seeing the amount due and wondering how I would make ends meet.

Memory after memory goes up in smoke and ash into the desert night sky until I come across a card I had forgotten.

It is a card from my grandparents. In it, Charlie Brown hangs upside down tangled by his kite in a tree as Lucy says, “I don’t suppose it will do a lot of good to tell you to hang in there.” As I open the card, I read the words, “Just letting you know I (which has been crossed out in favor of a handwritten “we”) care . . . no strings attached.”

I save the card, along with a few other items and decide to call it a night.


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