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Ask Molly -- Peril

Some days I like feeling fragile, a tiny patient seed watching for the smoke to clear, waiting for water and sunshine, expecting more raging fires and more rising seas, embracing “the off-center, in between state,” welcoming the next nightmare. All that matters is the pleasures of the day inside this box of smoke in the desert by the sea. What can we do to give this day a satisfying shape? Bread and tea and sadness, your hands, our words, we’ll bend the afternoon to our will, we’ll water the lime tree and imagine Italy, a place I might never visit, the future a lustrous question mark. It doesn’t pay to get too maudlin now, spinning into a dark abyss with a cacophony of hysterics. It pays to get melodramatic now, like a seed among microbial armies, like a starfish among doomed compatriots under miles of boiling ocean. It pays to surrender your tender soul to whatever comes next.

Don’t ask if you’re forgettable – someone is playing piano in the next room, someone who thinks she’ll live forever. Don’t ask yourself if you’ll survive — someone is squealing in their room, someone who fears wasps and choreographs counter-attacks against predatory apes. Don’t look for approval from unreachable sources – someone is living a colorful life miles away, next door, above you, below you, indifferent to you, unmoved by your best efforts to look bright and shiny. The most delicate seeds love to imagine an invisible alignment of souls: You and I are allies, forming a line of defense against oblivion. Everything we have could expire but we would still be here, together.

Sometimes imagination itself is just an excuse for fruitless longing, the kind that protects you from the high stakes of what you actually own. But I remember who I am now. I remember you. Our days are numbered. Let’s not move backwards. Let’s feel the weight of each moment before the curtain falls. The tides are coming for us. Put the kettle on.

Peril

343 words