Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

John Prine died a few days ago. Kathryn called us and I was glad to hear her voice, telling me about her sweet funny friends and their alcoholic social distanced dance parties on a massive porch. We cried a little bit, just a catch in the voice for a minute or two, about John Prine and she told me when her mother died, and she didn’t know what to do or where to go, Whistle and Fish was stuck in her head all that day. She and Aaron got home that night to a dark and empty house and he found the cassette and put it on and they waltzed and held each other and laughed and cried. It makes me proud of him. It can be hard to be tender with mothers, who seem so indestructible even when they’re breaking.

It’s hot today. I’m not ready for summer, but summer doesn’t care if I’m ready or not. I think we have another cool week but I should get my mind right and ready, think of all the cool pleasures in store, popsicles and oily salads and turning the hose on myself or the cats. Watermelon (still don’t really see the point of it, but I saw a video of a turtle eating some and he seemed so viscerally satisfied by it that I will try to be so as well), hot dog suppers, bikini tops and short shorts. That last one. I walked to the pharmacy in shorts and halter and face mask and two different men in cars tried to stop me. I ignored the first one but I gave the second one the finger and then felt both cold and guilty. It is hard to remember the pleasures of solitude when you have so goddamn much of it, but at least the only one there to make you doubt yourself is you.

Aaron has been staying up very late and sleeping until early afternoon. I go to sleep at one or two and wake up at nine thirty, so our bodies are arranging some alone time for us. We don’t get enough exercise and I’m fussy and bad tempered from it.

The garden is exploding. I ignore it for two days, feeling it twitching in the back of my mind, knowing the caterpillars are feasting and the leaves are drooping and then I go out in a crescendo of guilt and tend to everyone. I imagine it’s a little how you feel about your child, loving it, angry at it for needing so much attention, desperately propping up all its sagging corners and hoping it will survive to fruition despite its acquired scars.

There is guilt always in the back of my mind. If I pursue it, the way the therapist taught me, with gentle ‘Whys”, I can find that, like an air plant, it has no roots. It survives on thought crumbs that drift through my head, seizing them and getting fat but staying amorphous and shifty. The origin of the guilt is hard to get at. Something something Catholicism, something something Minnesota. I think original sin is an awful concept that has done a great deal of harm in the world.

I am drinking coffee with the dregs of the cognac in it, even though it is barely past noon. I haven’t been drinking much, it makes mental survival that much harder, but sometimes it’s the right thing. I don’t know if right now it’s right, but I know where that line of questioning leads. Endless doubt, endless questioning, eventually, paralyzation.

Writing feels good. It’s so hard to begin! I wrote a few letters and got relief from it. It’s comforting to know that my diarist hero, MFK Fisher, struggled too to sit down with herself and get the words out. I have been mildly plagued by something that Rilke wrote in a letter to his young poet, that if you are not compelled to write then you should not be a writer. I am compelled, but this shiftless lazy resisting keeps me from it. I wonder if I am not a writer, if I should give up words, but I think words will never give up on me, on plucking at me and whispering, so in my own way I am as absolute a writer as any more industrious person.

Those words look arrogant but they don’t feel so in my body, so I won’t worry about them.

Now that I’m stuck at home, like everyone else, I think about the things I did out in the world and they don’t seem to bear enough weight for how their absence hits me. I went to cafes and restaurants, often alone, often without speaking deeply to anyone else. The small interactions with strangers have a value that, in my worst depressions, I understood and counted, but that when I’m well I tend to forget about. I know, because the sentence remains in my head even when the sentiment is gone, that diner waitresses have saved my life more than once, with their tired perfunctory kindness.

What else did I used to do? Go to bars. I don’t miss that. I was already making some distance from that before the pandemic. It’s too diffuse, too many people scared and trying to achieve connection without exposure. It makes you feel like a flower with twenty butterflies all trying to drink you at once.

Maybe that’s a function of getting older. It wasn’t hard or unpleasant when I was younger but I think now the scope of my attention is more rigid and won’t bend as well to absorb everyone.

I know these always end with, “I will try and write more often,” but let’s not bother. Let’s just say, good job, well done and God speed.

Dear Diary

Lost is relative

What do you do when you don’t know who you are, or how to go on? How do you increase in yourself when your inner maps look at you and shrug and slope off for a cigarette?

You care for the lives under your care. You water plants, you pluck weeds, you feed cats and beggars and husbands and self. You clean your house and do small simple gentle magic until you see that the curl of you is uncontainable, uncontaminable, unquestionable, always living.

Lost is relative

Life in Bodies

I forgot how much horror I experienced when I was little over the whole big mess of birthing and killing and dying and eating, being parasitized and parasitizing, the awful closeness of being glued into meat and stuck in a world where meat reigns.

I forgot until yesterday! When I found a segment of tape worm on my cat and it all came rushing back. Yech. Yechyechyech. Why is it so maddening? Why does it make me shudder? I thought at first, you know, it’s just gross. But why? Is it the invasion of something else living inside you? Is it the lack of control over a space you have managed to con yourself into believing you own? I don’t think so.

I think it’s the intimacy. We pretend, especially in America, that we can sanitize our houses with Lysol, tidy up our minds with therapy, defeat fear through breathing exercises and books on how to dominate in business. We take every Eastern mystic practice and try use them against their very natures, not to bring us to acceptance of cycles, but to lock us away from the truth of our existence. We put up straw stakes in wet sand to keep us safe from the consuming touch of love, nature, death. And we haaaaaate it when something (and there is always something. Every. Single. Day.) knocks down our lovely straw houses and we are confronted once again with the fact that we live in violable, dependent meat.

I may be projecting. I may be the only person who feels this way. But I don’t think so.

Anyway. The cat has a tapeworm. I freaked out. I stood on my tiptoes and hummed and shivered and gagged with the ickiness of it. And today I feel better! More alive. More able. Ready to work, for the triumph of the cat and the defeat of the tapeworm. Ready to work for the triumph of myself and my sweet, gross meat, and the defeat of isolation and immobility.

Which is pretty annoying. I see you, God. I see you. And you’re annoying.

Life in Bodies

Back Home Again

Way Hey, New Orleans! The scintillating siren of semi-colons and sauciness has returned to the embrace of your moist folds! (Note: There should be a semi-colon in semi-colon. Not a dash. It’s just embarrassing. Like someone who advertises for Ivory soap blatantly using Irish Spring.)

I am super bummed to be back for the following reasons.

1.) It is not cold here. Turns out I feel very very powerful in the winter, in the cold specifically. Up in Minneapolis, I was polite and pleasant about the 35 to 45 Fahrenheit range but it was only when we got below 20 degrees that I started to scream into the wind. And that’s a good thing. Sorry, might not be clear. Me screaming into the wind is like a dog having a cold damp nose. On other beings, it might be a cause for concern, but when you see me do it, you give a thumbs up and a smile and say to yourself, “Gosh, she’s doing alllllright.”

2.) I was living alone in Minneapolis. My partner is friendly and pleasantly warm from being full of living blood (note: never describe him that way in front of him) but I surely to God hate to wake up next to any living thing. I like to fall asleep next to him, hate to wake up by him. It makes my thoughts go all compact and wodgey. Also, he demands respect and insists that as a human being, I shouldn’t force him to stay completely still while I put cat treats on his thighs, collarbone and elbows. I think this is unreasonable, because how else am I going to get him a handcrafted cat massage? He says he doesn’t want a cat massage, he wants to go about his day. I start crying, which I now realize may be a slight overreaction to not getting to give someone a cat based massage first thing in the morning.

3.) This is sort of a footnote to the above. In Minneapolis, there is no one who is either close enough to me, or not sufficiently scared of my vengeance to tell me I’m doing something wrong. In New Orleans there are lots of people who tell me I’m doing things wrong and I hate it.

4.) Cafes. This one is EXTREMELY petty, but pertinent to me because I’m engaged in a writing project. Up in the old frozen north, there has been a renaissance (naissance? just a naissance.) of pastry. Kouign amanns (folded sugar dough mouth-heroin), croissants, pull-aparts, Danishes that broke the mold when they left the old country, all these things are in the meanest and most paltry of cafes. In New Orleans, home of Actual French Descendants, I gnaw sadly on sugar covered bread roll.

5.) i.e. Probably The Real Reason. This is where my life is. When I’m somewhere else, where My Life is on hold, I feel better. Less afraid. Less battered by the imminent future, by the things I’m doing and failing to do, by the person I ought to be (which is who exactly?). I don’t know who that person is, but she definitely doesn’t cry because she can’t give her husband an unwanted cat massage.

 

When good things happen to me, people ask me if I’m happy about it. Or tell me they’re happy for me. And I have learned to nod and say yes, I am happy. But I don’t really know what that means. I know the glorious, bloody feeling of victory. I know the emptiness of peace. I know the muscle ache of laughter with my brother. I know the rushing voracious hole of anxiety. I know the awful wave of Being Wrong.

And all of that is fine! The only really nasty one is not feeling ‘happy’ and thinking you ought to!

So, no. I’m not happy to be home. And that’s okay.

Back Home Again

Story Nine – Trio

“You’re a fucking animal, Carlson,” she said mildly. The rest of the fries mushed against my fingers as I scooped them up from the dirty parking lot. Their edges split on my hands and I could feel all their mealy softness as their structure broke down. Hey, just like me. Very nice to look at. An appealing golden brown. But mealy inside, and generally disappointing the next day.

I grinned up at Antonia from the ground and felt big and wicked and wonderful. I held out the palmful of fries and made puppy sounds until she took off her flip flop and threw it out me. Rookie. I flung the fries down again and chased her with her own pink shoe, smacking any available skin. She fled, defeated, before my onslaught.

  Rachel came bursting out of the huge plastic burger bun-shaped doors. Her purse strap caught on one of the pickle slice door handles and it yanked her back like a cartoon character. We froze in a ludicrous tableau, Antonia covering her ass with both hands and me with the flip flop raised high. Rachel could be difficult when thwarted in small things. You never knew. She might absorb that small shame and move on, or she might light a fire with it and spend the rest of the night burning everyone around her .

  One of the plastic sesame seeds fell off. She looked down for a moment that felt long but wasn’t. Her fingers swooped like a crane, I could almost hear the air rushing through them, and she seized her prize, came up grinning and tucking the stupid sesame seed into her shiny purse.

  We burst into crazed giggles and our cartoon sped back into life. I got off a completely solid hit right on Antonia’s left butt cheek and her cry of outrage was enough to end the game.

  Rachel gathered us up with clucking and shooing, herding us back to the car. All the boys were still inside it but since Rachel had told them to stay there and left the windows up, we had forgotten them as soon as the doors thumped closed. They were resentful. We were having fun so utterly removed from them, so out of reference to their presence, that it was an insult. We didn’t mean it to be an insult, which made it worse. If we had wanted to hurt them, it would have meant they at least weighed a little something in our soft hands.

Antonia opened the front passenger door and let it fall against her hip. She stared down into the interior with a face like a dare, then ducked swiftly towards the floppy haired boy sitting in her spot. His mouth opened a little as she whispered in his ear and then he wiggled backwards and spread his knees for her. She perched between them and leaned back with a sigh, content against his bony chest.

Rachel, of course, wanted to drive. But we have rules. Rules keep my atoms together and I cannot start breaking small rules because they might set a bad example for the big ones. And the rule is, in my car, I drive.

  She flung the back door open with excessive force and waved the backseat boys up against the far door. They surged in response. Like she was the sorcerer’s apprentice and they were the waves in the well and all they could do was rise and fall with the rhythm of her manicure. I laughed a little but kept it inside my mouth so it tickled me and I had to cough. Antonia glanced at me.

  “Let’s go, bitch!” she cried.

“You got no couth.” I turned the car on, checked my lights, my mirrors, my seat placement. Antonia hated it, she always wanted to peel out of places, leave the yokels in her wake (surely anybody she left behind became a yokel), leave them gasping in wonder and disapproval. This orderly departure was anathema. She glared at me, twisting in the boy’s lap and pinching the skin on his wrists. He winced, in a confusion of sensation. I smiled pleasantly and accelerated safely and smoothly into the street. 

  “You have to get out,” came suddenly from the back. I squinted into the rearview. Rachel’s back was pressed against her door, her body canted towards them but her neck was twisted to meet my eyes in the mirror.

  “What?”

  “Stop, they have to get out.” There was a murmur, confusion from the boys.

  “Rachel, this isn’t anywhere near the park. I thought we were going to the park.”

  “Stop. Now.”

  I pulled over.

  The boys in the back slid out their side, complaining now but not really unhappy to be leaving the basilisk stare glowing at them out of the dark. 

  “All of them.”

  “Awww, Rachel, mine too?”

  “I said now.

  The floppy haired boy wiggled silently out from under Antonia. She pouted and made herself heavy, but there was no brooking that tone. Besides, I could tell he knew something was wrong. His arms and neck were all goosebumps. He closed the door carefully behind him and walked quickly away, in and out of streetlights until he was gone.

  The three of us watched him go. He was better game than the other two, who were absolute lightweights, just dandelions on the wind. I was actually a little upset.

  “What the fuck was that, Rachel?”

  “I feel sick.”

  I twisted around and looked at her. She was a sketch in the dark back there, all her fire and splutter shaded. I popped the dome light on. She looked sick. Pale green, sweating, ugly.

  “Do you think it was that nurse’s aide in the alley?”

  She nodded, gulping.

  “Drugs,” she whispered.

  “Shit. Aw shit. Okay. Let’s go to the beach and we’ll help you throw up, okay? And then we’ll get something real in your stomach.” She closed her eyes and leaned her head against the seat.

  I drove less carefully than usual getting there but Antonia couldn’t enjoy it. She kept turning in her seat to glance back. I could hear her skirt squeaking on the pleather every time she did it and it made me want to scream.

The lake parking lot loomed up on the right and I spun into it. Pay to park, but aren’t they all? I’m lucky when it comes to parking tickets. It’s a gift.

  Rachel rolled out of the back while the car was still moving and came to the ground on her knees. Her hands were white knuckled together across her belly. I rested my hands on the wheel for just a moment, to gather myself, and then I was out and beside her, bracing her lopsided weight and moving her towards the water’s edge.

  We sat her down in the sand and pulled off her shoes. She was crying now. I’d never seen Rachel cry. It made me feel desperate and loving. I rose onto my knees and picked her up under her thighs and behind her low back, scooting her forward her so that her feet dipped into the dark lake.

  She leaned over her legs and wheezed. Antonia had her rings off and scattered in the sand. She plunged her arms into the water up to the elbow and pulled them out immediately. Water poured blackly from them, more water than a surface holds, all the water wrung from a sponge.

  She closed her eyes and spread her fingers. They began to whiten and lengthen. They drooped from her hands like taffy and their ends fined into spider silk.

  “Look up, baby. It’ll be over soon.”

  Rachel moaned, but managed to lift her head. Blood vessels were bursting in her sclera, she was red and getting redder. She opened her mouth and the moon caught on her teeth for a moment.

  Antonia lifted her arms high and the rootling fingers skated across Rachel’s face and dipped, delicate, in her mouth. She lowered her hands slowly, with control. I could not see what was happening inside but I could tell when she hit the stomach because her whole body flinched as she began to absorb whatever poison the nurse’s aide had had in her system.

  “Feet in the water, Nia,” I whispered. She didn’t lift her feet but rather slid them back through the sand, keeping her weight even. She sighed as a wavelet licked up her heel and some of the strain in her face eased.

  The backs of her hands were starting to go pink by the time Rachel stopped crying. Antonia came back from somewhere and looked down, confused.

  “Oh. Is that enough?” Rachel blinked up at her, mouth filled with roots now fat and bulging with red. She tried to nod.

  Antonia grimaced. She took a step backwards but kept her weight canted forward so that she would have good control of the rate and draw her fingers smoothly and evenly from Rachel’s throat. Rachel gagged.

  The worst was over. They would both have bad hangovers tomorrow but death was not on the menu tonight. I fell back in the sand. The sky was so so high. Rachel gave a tiny burp. I sighed and rolled over to hold her, and Antonia came and clasped her from the other side. For a moment, I could feel the leaves shaking in our hair, the blood of honored sacrifices nourishing our roots, mountain sun on our bodies, mountain sage at our knees, blessings rolling out from us to a people who kissed us with their mouths and slept beneath us for true dreams.

Then it was gone and we were just tangled girls on a beach. And we were hungry again.

  

   

Story Nine – Trio

Story 8 – A Day In The Life

There’s a white ibis begging for beignets at the table across from her. Its legs and the patch of skin around its eye are a nice tender pink, not raw looking at all, just pretty and blushing. It marches. It stalks. It eyes the clustered smokers with speculation. 

  She can never smoke when it’s hot and bright like this. It seems like homeopathy gone wrong. In Korea, she knows, they eat fiercely hot soups in summer, treating fire with fire, but smoking in the sun leaves her dizzy and sinful feeling. After dusk, then it’s okay. Everything is padded with shadows and if you bump up against a bit of sin, well, it won’t hardly leave a mark. 

  She’s tired of stories where everyone’s unhappy and nobody does anything about it. She’s tired of sitting. She stands and gathers her things, sunglasses, keys, quarters.

  What’s the point if there’s no magic? She stands on the edge of the path and stares unseeing up into the Spanish moss. What’s the point if you have to shoehorn it in yourself? Parents being the magic for their kids until they’re old enough to have it destroyed. Girls in lakes pretending to be mermaids at night for the pique of the insomniacs. Churches hedging the little bit of magic they do have all around with coffee klatches and sexual abuse and bureaucracy and bullshit so it’s all tainted.

  Magical realism was the hope of her childhood, Peter S. Beagle and Francesca Lia Block and Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman and Emma Bull. Somehow they’ve made it worse though: the reassurance that in this empty bowl somewhere you will happen upon the wonderful. Well, it’s just not true, is it? They’ve set her up for failure. They were just protecting themselves from the desolation, reassuring themselves, shoehorning it in just like everybody else.

  When she talked to her guidance counselor about it, when she said just the very edge of the truth, she got a variation of her parents’ “the world just isn’t like that” speech with a side of pity and a palate cleanser of impatience. It seemed that other kids had real problems, hunger, drugs, drunk parents. Not just that there weren’t any fairies in the park.

  But it was a problem that there weren’t any fairies in the park. For her, it was a serious problem. A life or death problem. She couldn’t say that, she knew people would get upset and then it would be even worse. You can’t walk up to your grandma and say, “If there isn’t any magic, I don’t want to be alive.” She will take it amiss. People object to other people wanting to be dead, it makes them nervous about their own lives. They worry that they’re missing something.   

  Somehow she cannot stand the idea of playacting. It used to appeal. It used to ease things a little. But now the idea of some city elf with blue plastic sparkles on her lips and silicone ears coming home at night to her apartment to make macaroni and cheese and go online makes her so hurt and angry that she feels like she’s been gutpunched. She knows it’s not fair to be mad at the Ren Faire people, the convention people, the cosplayers, festival followers, ravers. They’re all trying to scrape up magic. But she is mad at them. She’s humiliated for them and for herself. Pretending. Telling these soft pointless stories about something fierce and foreign and devastating.

She used to do rituals in the sandbox at night. Digging holes and cutting her finger into them, spitting in them, whispering the words that felt most right to seal it and then covering them over. Trying to make magic wake up and pay attention to her. Trying to open a door.

  It worked once. She tries not to think about that. It went…very badly. Not at all like she expected. But that was the point. It wouldn’t fit inside her moral parameters. It was not moral in the way that she was. It was too big.

  Did it change anything, that it worked that one time? It should have. It made her more scared. It stopped her doing rituals. But it didn’t stop the longing. It didn’t stop the feeling that there should be more, that something was missing and stuck and needed help to fill out all the empty Spaces.

  It doesn’t feel so bad in wild places. Not so thin.

  She can feel her fingers losing purchase on the day. She takes a deep breath and walks to her car, rolls down the windows and drives out to Jean LaFitte to look at the alligators. Alligators are magic all on their own. And so is the pink footed ibis. So are the butterflies in her backyard. So is anything given to her that she has not earned because they have no notion of her deserving or not deserving.

  There’s magic in Barataria. It’s not the kind she wants. It’s not flamboyant, it has no set story to lull her. There’s no witches framed against the moon, or hipster cool elf tweens eating the viscera of a fox on the path, or huge ancient shacky houses rising dripping from the swamp with calliope music coming from dark windows. It’s just wild things living their lives. It’s not what she wants. But it helps.

Story 8 – A Day In The Life

Story 7 – Evil Without Malice

Sometimes a person can get so hungry that they’ll do anything to ease it. With food, this is mostly easy. Not always easy to get it, but the pain in your tummy is addressed directly and then, you are full. There are so many other hungers, my love. They don’t really operate on a one to one ratio and people can never fill them with the things they suppose. Your mum isn’t bad, she’s just hungry. I suppose I could say that about anybody, really. But we can’t see her for a while, okay? Because right now she can only feel full by giving trouble and making us cry. And it’s not just that it hurts us, love, I know. I know it hurts and we have to protect ourselves now before there’s too much erosion, it’s not just that. It’s hurting her too. She’s got a notion that this is a good thing because it makes her feel better, relieved, at peace, for a couple of days. She can’t see she’s just making that hunger a stronger, louder kind of storm in her. The wanting won’t ever stop wanting, because that’s it’s job. That’s what it is. It’s not a wrong thing. You don’t tell a horse not to be a horse. But you don’t let the horse trample your garden. Do you understand?

Drink this, there’s lots of honey in it.

Oh my poor girl. Of course she loves you. Of course she does. She just forgot how to bridle that horse. She forgot that she even can. She doesn’t remember bridles exist.

I don’t know. People can start remembering in all kinds of funny ways. Sometimes they remember if they see a horse on tv or if a kid in a grocery store goes galloping past. Sometimes they can only remember if they’ve lost every single other thing.

Yes, alright, I’ll leave the metaphor. You don’t have to be persnickety.

Did you lock the windows in your bedroom? It’s five thirty, we better get to it. Can you do the whole upstairs? Okay, bring your stuff down when you’re done and we’ll get ready.

WHAAAAT? NO, THEY’RE ON THE LEDGE. I SAID, THE LEDGE. THE LEDGE.

You got em? Okay, sling em around your neck, honey.

No, they look fine. I always liked those earmuffs. They’re festive.

Take both necklaces tonight, I think.

No, baby, I’m fine, she can’t do a goddamn thing to me.

I’ll have you know I was a swearing woman when your mother was a twinkle in my eye and I won’t be dictated to by a baby, even if you are my very favorite baby. Don’t be a prig at me, Ella.

Alright, well, I’m sorry too. I know it bothers you. I’ll only save it for very special occasions. But your mom is always a special occasion. And she’s here almost every night. So…well.

Agree to disagree. Gimme kiss. I love you too, girl, let’s get the pizza.

Sun’s down.

Which movie? Fellowship again? Let’s watch Watership Down! You have not either, and if you did you were so young you won’t remember it. Well, there’s a lot about what a person (a rabbit, I guess) looks like when wanting things metastasizes. It means spreads. No, doctors use it. It means when cancer goes from being in just one part to being in the whole body.

Alright, alright, Fellowship again.

Hey, Ella?

Ella, did you lock the front?

I know I was supposed to do the downstairs, I was just asking.

I’ll be right back, angel, you just sit. Pop those earmuffs on, okay?   

Mara, you get off of my fucking porch right now. Did you open this door? Or did one of your friends do it for you?

I don’t care if you need her. You need a lot of things, seems to me. I need you to not be this person. I guess we’re both out of luck.

Mara, you stop this. I don’t know if you can stop hurting people. It might be because I’m old or because I’m tired, but I don’t really care. All I care is that you stop hurting Ella. You can start by bringing this goddamn wind down so I can close the door!

Of course you hurt too. You won’t take a single fucking step back from your pain and your self. Yeah, tears used to work on me. But your tears haven’t run clear in a long time, my girl.

NO! Ella will NEVER NEVER come home again with marks on her. That’s all. You can’t control yourself? You can’t prioritize her? Well, you for Christ sure can’t come in this house and we don’t particularly need to go out at night for the rest of our fucking lives as far as I can see, so you can cry blood til kingdom come, it’s not going to get you anything. 

Oh Ella, baby, go back in the living room.

Ella, don’t listen.

She can’t come in, we don’t have to stand here and let ourselves soak up any of her nastiness. Pull out your necklaces, they’re stuck in the cardigan.

There she goes. I got you, I got you. I got you, my love, my own. I’m here. It’s okay. Might be time to buff up those crosses, though. Let me feed you some pizza, my heart.

I know you’re big, but when things are bad, anybody can sit in anybody’s lap. Normal rules don’t apply. When you’re big enough I’m gonna sit right down in your lap and you can sing me to sleep.

Yeah, Bram Stoker got it all wrong, huh? It’s just a mess.

Strigoi was the name before. They always come back home first.

Well, maybe some part of them misses their family but the other parts don’t know what to do with that. Maybe they feel missing someone and think it’s being hungry for someone. They can’t pull back and look at their feelings.

I think she’s still your mom. But someone can be evil without being malicious, do you see that? Selfishness and fear make evil just as easily, more easily, than wanting to hurt people.

It might be time to take some steps.

I love you too, Ella.

Press play on the goddamn thing.

Story 7 – Evil Without Malice