In the 19 years I’ve known Dawn it was maybe the second time I’ve seen her hungover, one random Friday in February. And though it was set to snow and I tried a new gumbo recipe, built a fire, she wasn’t interested in any of it; she just threw up and ate crackers and stayed in bed. Even the burger didn’t help. The gumbo recipe called for toasting the flour in the oven which I did first with a pan that wasn’t oven-safe and began to smell of chemicals or cat urine, a smell gone afuck, so I switched it out partway for the iron skillet we use to fry bacon. The flour got the color of cinnamon and I moved it to a plate to cool, then out on the patio so it could cool faster. Left to myself in the den I wrote with my shirt off by the fire drinking wine, the dog watching me. Outside it was really snowing, it started right when they said it would, but it was hard to tell if it would amount to anything. It just looked grizzled and cold. The foothills did too, a white smudge on the snow-line, the same as my beard. Dawn’s friend Heather was in to numerology, she said the six-month date after your birthday is more significant in a sense, your “summit.” That’s when I started writing my last 50K word challenge, last May.
The cat’s missing a tooth on the lower jaw from when she fell out of a tree and now looks like a dragon, like Smaug maybe, her lazy snake eyes, her fuck-you sneer.
I pre-saged the scene Lily would leave home for college in a dream, we walked along a college campus at night, the scene rich with the sense of loss, of going away—it could be any number of goodbyes, they all have a similar feel, slightly different tones on the color wheel.