It's been a godawful week, in a godawful year. I won't even recount the events that exhausted us, dragging us down by the heels and shaking us as if we were rag dolls. So I wasn't surprised to see bloodstains on the sidewalk on Main Street. I saw sadness in the outstretched leaf of a houseplant, poking through a neighbor's blinds. I pre-emptively shuddered before scrolling through my newsfeed. Imagining myself as Cassandra at the barricades, I discerned dark signs in the most banal sights.
The other day I wished another neighbor a happy birthday as he sat in a car parked in the backlot of the derelict hotel across from his house. He had been lost in thought; I knew he was coping with his wife in hospital again, after her hip disintegrated from all the cancer treatments over the years. We exchanged a few words, and then I went inside, and while ironing, I started to cry.
Still, amidst turmoil and wreckage: days of beauty and grace. A bell ringing in a concrete garden, a neighbor's child playing with a kitten. Squishy blackberries plucked from hedgerows, offered to Sam. Red admirals and small tortoiseshells, drunk on shimmering heat. The dimly lit woods, treetops crowned with the last rays of the sun. A red sickle moon, lowslung above the hills.
Estragon: I can't go on like this.
Vladimir: That's what you think.