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Day 60

My thoughts are not aligning in the way that thoughts should.

I sit at the table before the glass doors, the winterscape beaming its images to my brain. The gray outside is a solid wall, erasing everything past the yellow grass-ed field. It is snowing in Salt Lake, where Georg is working, but our small suburb always seems to roll unperturbedly in its own private ecosystem, cold without condensation (I will ask Georg why this is, when he gets home from work; he studied geography, as he likes to remind me).

I am drinking my Yerba mate, the gourd beside a Clean Canteen from which wisps of smoke claw out, curling before the gray scene through the doors. I am trying to write, to plan things, but instead I go back to reading Flights, trying to decide how much I like the plotless prose. These days, there is little I can do productively besides read, a symptom, I suppose.

Sophie is here, playing on the floor. It's strange to have time to read, in Sophie's great magnanimity. She must have entered a new stage this month, because she has been more engaged in independent play, has had less days of all-day screaming and whining. She also loves spending time with me. She likes to hold my face between her two soft, small hands and name my features in incoherent toddler-talk. "Yes," I agree, as she points. "Nose," and she says some variation of "da" or "ta" since the "n" sound is beyond her capabilities. And so we continue, naming the face, her own face surprisingly tender as she touches me. I swear she is older than her age; she has brown eyes which stop the world-spinning in its tracks. She stares much longer than a toddler should (here is how I know she is special). She also has a special capacity for nurturing. She shares pieces of bread and chunks of banana. She won't eat until I do, even if she is hungry. She talks as if she were actually talking, adult-like inflections. And I should mention, she is gorgeous. I mean that as objectively as possible. She is so gorgeous that I have to stop myself from mentioning it all the time. She is only 18 months old, but I don't want her to define herself by a simple biological blessing (conferred by her father, by the way, whom she most resembles), so I try to compliment her other attributes. Yes, she is young, but she seems to see and hear everything. It all sinks in, I think, so I weigh my words. "You are perfect," I tell her, a hundred times a day. She smiles mischievously, sweetly, in pure joy. Probably six different smiles, her personality expanding every day.

Well anyway, I can see now why mothers cling to their children like lifeboats: they remain predictably wild and innocently volatile in spite of the despair of our own volatility. She anchors me in this gray reality, saving me.


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