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12.30.2008

The Last Post

69.

We never get around to cleaning. We go out to dinner and a movie instead. The movie is called "Innocent Voices," in Spanish, and is set in El Salvador during the civil war. For the first half, everything seems so true I almost forget it was based on a real story, but then the boy becomes a man.

When the credits roll, Cathreen says, "We have a happy life, right?" The family in the movie lost their house, watched their friends die, were almost killed by children bearing arms. I should have been thinking about this in the same way.

70.

At home, Cathreen lies in bed and reads the news. The world is stressing her out. I wish the world would quit it.

So much has happened in the last two weeks. Her hand, her hair, our good days and bad, Christmas. Israel is bombing Palestine.

I wish we would learn.

71.

In the morning, we wake up early to take out the recycling from the past two weeks and in the parking lot, boxes are piled high like the ruins of cardboard castles. Cathreen says everyone is cleaning for the New Year. I think about Italians throwing plates out of windows to keep away the spirits of their pasts--something like that. Tomorrow is the arbitrary day we say the earth begins another orbit around the sun.

With 2009 comes the clean slate we set for ourselves.

We will take what we can get.

72.

If this seems a natural ending, the last day of the year, I didn't plan it. All experiments, great or small, must end.

As I drive Cathreen to work, something I say causes a storm to pass across her face, and I know I haven't been fair to her. I've been too harsh on her character, and perhaps on my own, as I am prone to do. Except this is real life, not fiction.

"Don't writing about me anymore," she says. "I'm getting frustrated." I stare blankly ahead. "Now you're going to writing: Cathreen says, 'Don't writing about me anymore. I'm getting frustrated,' right?" I can't help but think this is the perfect ending. I don't want to make her angry, but our honest reactions, in injury and in recuperation, are what I had set out to capture from our tragic two weeks before the heightened state eventually peters out.

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