Right Away and Up Close

Photo by Francois Pistorius on Unsplash

On Friday nights, we used to eat burritos in front of the big screen TV upstairs. I was such a picky eater that mine was just beans and a tortilla — but something about it seemed like such a treat. I’d eat it slowly in the big yellow chair, and we’d pause the show every few minutes so each of us could offer our commentary.

Can you ever truly love a moment until it’s leaking from your memory?

My stomach always knows something’s wrong. A fiery syrup swirls at the bottom of my gut and I try to count all the ways I’m fine. Look at what I have, I venture, but it just burns hotter.

How do other families re-assemble after a tragedy?

It’s the first time I’ve felt that dream panic in real life. The one where you have something urgent to say, but your throat’s choked close? Except my throat’s open—my mouth works. I’m speaking and nobody’s registering. I keep wondering which one is worse.

I wish this were as easy as a a skinned knee, which only looks scary right away and up close.

When we talk on the phone, sometimes it’s like we’re reading a script. Ha-ha, yes, that sounds great and thank you so much for thinking of me. The call only lasts a few minutes when it used to span days. It’s the only way we know how to pick our way through this minefield.

I used to wish something would happen to me so I’d have something to write about. How are you supposed to write anything interesting when your life has been so boring?

Last night, I dreamt I was looking through the window at a woman sliding dinner onto the table. I could see my spot from there. But when I jiggled the knob to go claim it, it wouldn’t turn. In fact, the harder I tried, the less it would even jiggle. In fact, at some point, there was no knob or window. At some point, I was just lying in bed unable to recognize my hands.




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Abby Kloppenburg

Abby Kloppenburg


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