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Q train to Manhattan. Lory bought a bottle of water so Bernadette could wash the bird shit out of my hair. Un-chicken cutlet on focaccia with non-dairy mayo at Kate’s Joint in the East Village. Dawn has arrived. They are catching me up. I am laughing with my friends and I am home.

Metro-North out of Grand Central to Brewster. My iPod shuffles from The Dog Days Are Over to Empire State of Mind to U2’s Breathe.  Foot resting on the floor heater, taking in the tunnel scene as we surface to Park Ave. Sucking down a pineapple coconut smoothie and a protein bar, I don’t want to think, I don’t want to write, I just want to be in this moment.

There’s nothing you have that I need. I can breathe.

Sprawled out across the backseat of my parent’s Saturn, sun shining down on my face. Route 7 from Great Barrington to Danbury, past Kent Falls and Housatonic Meadows. My mom says her golf swing is improving. My dad tells a story about the cats. We all make jokes about my vacant love life. I only want to be in this moment.

Christmas in June. Chinese food on the picnic table with my Grams to make up for missing it in December. White lights and red ribbon strewn across the garage, reindeer cards and poorly wrapped trifles. Barb reminisces about the time she got stuck on a chairlift at Shawnee. Rich re-lives the details of our Hammonasset clam bakes. Grams struggles to get her fortune cookie unwrapped so I lean in close and tell her I like to watch her suffer. Naturally she smacks me and the crowd explodes. I am laughing with my family and I am home.

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