Winter cuts the day in peculiar ways. The sun starts strong in the sky, causing icicles to melt along the windowsill. Before long the clouds set in, allowing the icicles to regain their shape, longer even, water dripping from the snow-covered rooftop increasing their potency. By three-thirty, four o’clock, the sun has begun its retreat, the sky heading toward the black of night. It’s no wonder birds choose to fly south for the winter, she thought. This is no way to live.
She listened to the rain outside her window. Delighted in knowing she didn’t have to go out in the wet, had no place to be. It didn’t rain inside her bedroom. Neither snow, nor sleet, nor hail fell from the modest height of her popcorn ceiling. She took steps to contend with the hot and cold, light and dark in her day, worked to maintain a constant equilibrium in the world inside her bubble. She buried herself beneath another layer of blankets when the cold came knocking at her windowsill, donned long sleeves and warm socks. She switched the light on anytime the sun refused to shine. Lifted the window shade when the sun deigned to cooperate.
Sound proved wildly less obedient. Weather doesn’t masquerade, hot pretending to be cold and vice versa. The sound of an empty house played havoc with the calendar. Trajan was a bundle inside her arms the last stretch of time she’d spent at home during the day, Langston a toddler running small errands back and forth to the kitchen for his mother. Any voice she heard belonged to a child of hers, sometimes both boys calling to her at once, babbling in singsong unison. Their voices were school-age as the day came to a close, racing one another to her front door after the school bus dropped them off. By nightfall, she was alone again, resting in the place life had left her, sitting alone inside her bubble.
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