Soon Cathreen's sister returns from the hospital. The medicine makes her sleepy, and this lethargy seems to rub off on the rest of us. I feel like days pass as I readjust to a full house. They do. Stress levels fluctuate. I can't tell what's up or down with people. We eat out a couple times to remember we have a good life.
At one dinner, Cathreen translates for me as her mom tells me I have to listen to my parents, I have to be good to my parents, it was so so much work for them to raise me, I have to appreciate them. I'm looking at Cathreen and wondering what prompted this.
She's afraid of Michigan, I know, but what else?
I chew on some pork. The baby watches me. He wants to eat like this. His mouth moves, his eyes stay. Don't rush, I want to tell him.
Everyone is feeling older. Our other nephew is starting to crawl. Soon he will terrorize his mother. Babies are so careless.
With no cribs, they're always a threat to roll off the bed. They're always a threat to be mourned. They scratch their faces with their own nails. They look like they've been in baby prison.
As my birthday approaches, Cathreen suggests a joint dinner with her eldest sister, whose birthday is near mine. We drive out to the beef restaurant we ate at with her second sister. We shouldn't expect the same deliciousness, but we do.
It's not new anymore. Something's missing, or something's changed.
On the way back, we get lost. The sun beats in hot; the air outside is cold. The car seems to shrink in on me.
This morning, I have my final tutoring lesson, and my student gives me a CD for a going away present. "What's on it?" I ask.
"Nothing," he says. Blank.
We make a book, something for him to hold onto when I'm gone. He runs wild for the last five minutes as I bind it, trying to get it right, as if it's mine.
I keep all the jagged lines he's drawn. They look honest. They look innocent in a way I couldn't make them.
"Is it done yet?" he asks.
the project has moved
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