Like a Greek myth that punishes its subject to suffer the daily pattern of futility as recompense for some trespass with the gods, so it was: not the recurring monotony of the pandemic but instead just getting our kids to put their shoes on the rack and not leave them willy-nilly on the floor where everyone walks. One of the many, many things I had to let go of as a parent but never could. And that was one of a handful of small patterns I could not break that would age me spoonful by spoonful, day by day.
None of it felt real though all of it was. I sat on the chaise lounge with my eyes closed and the cat beside me, the birds, and nothing more. The sun, an angry eye squinting through the trees. The season receding and the scraping of trash can totes up the gravel. The yucca fronds leaning upwards and out, the hummingbirds’ strange peeping sounds. Our stamped patio was slanted and the rhododendrons drooped. I had two more weeks of work for the year, maybe a little more. Then in a couple months I’d be 50. We had a lot of wood to burn and time to go still. I’d spend it focused on lighting candles at 4 and growing my beard out more than before. Life reduced down to a postage stamp and worth collecting, saved in a book.