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Sunday, December 20, 2009



Every night I sleep in my Dead Husband’s red sweater, cashmere worn and soft and filled with pockets of warm air. Sometimes I wear it for days, rattling around my little house alone save for my two dogs. They love me like He did, without conditions or demands. I don’t want anyone to love me that way again, just my dogs. It’s too much to lose, that kind of love. It leaves poison in its wake, toxins flowing in my blood and brain. Some days I shower and put the sweater back on, others I don’t bother to shower at all. Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth and others I just don’t do it on purpose. In fits and starts, I obsess about the dust that builds up, sometimes attacking it as though it were an enemy to be beaten back, other times just looking at it and going to back to bed. I cook, but not for me. I cook to stop thinking about my Dead Husband and the dust. The dogs don’t care what I do. My hair is filthy and they don’t care. Why should I? I drink gallons of coffee and don’t eat except for yogurt and almonds. I smoke, sometimes in a chain, and evenings I drink vodka, sometimes too much. I want to stay here in my little house, but sometimes I have to dress and leave and act as though everything is okay. I’m very good at it. No one knows how I’m rotting away inside, not even my shrinks. It’s Christmas, and I don’t give a shit. I have 4 decorations out and a wreath on my front door, but they are not for me. They are for the children who expect some evidence that I am really who they think I am.

Sometimes I obsess about my looks and wash my hair and get my nails done and visit a young woman who sandblasts my face to take away any little imperfection I can find. I wear red cowboy boots and tight jeans and makeup. But there is no satisfaction or comfort in it. It’s a show, a farce, bullshit that the others expect of me. They need to believe I am okay, not crazy and sad and inconceivably lonely.They need to think I want to hold babies and smile as they open their gifts I bought from the internet. They need more than I can give, so I pretend.

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