technically her cancer’s not in remission. meanwhile she’s going through a pretty dark stage, and even though i’ve only known her for about a year, i’d guess she’s spent most of her life there. her teenage daughter treats her like shit, her mom is co-dependent so spends as many waking hours as she can with her, she’s had a helluva time securing a permanent job with benefits, and she hates her boyfriend of over five years yet stays with him because the prospect of being alone is too much to bear. she’s never been alone. she went from mom to husband to boyfriend and she’s about eight years older than me, and why is that important for me to write? dunno. maybe it’s on account of trying to switch places in my head in an effort to understand where she’s coming from so i can listen without the instinctive pressure of offering advice, not that i would anyway, but that don’t remove the pressure, the ‘wait for it’ feeling when you think someone’s gonna ask your opinion and rather than do so and hurt them you come up with something gray and believable, something that puts the question back in their court cause you know you don’t really understand their game that well. she does it by asking me how i do ‘it’ cause she can’t imagine how it is i can make jokes, laugh, or smile and still do ‘it’. then again, she knows almost nothing about me outside of those jokes and that smile. my melancholy leaf is probably ten shades darker than hers but you’d never know it cause i like distracting folks by talking about the rain. i’m only writing about her because she sounded so robotic on our call today, a call she initiated because i rarely call anyone but do enjoy talking and listening once on the phone. guess i need folks in my life that don’t take my lack of effort too personally. inside i’m very much still that kid who joined class in the middle of the school year where english is my second language and everyone else’s first. i’m not shy so much as cautious about my differences and how others will treat them. and maybe that’s bullshit and i’m just trying to fill a page with words because it’s somewhat relaxing. she said she wasn’t taking anything and this was before i even asked, but my heart confirms she’s on something. something that has her heart on a restraining order from her mind. those kinds of edicts have a unique sound, something you learn about as a baby and never forget. it’s kinda like when you start whimpering after crying for hours cause you know no one is listening, let alone coming in the room to hold you. i never really mastered how to tell folks everything’s gonna be all right and make it sound believable.

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