My life has collided with a record-breaking number of others this year. At the end of the year, I think about all twelve months. It does not matter if there is a cycle to life or if we recognize it.

I drink to soften my mouth.

I’m drunk, and it’s the middle of the day. Two and a half years in Wisconsin, and I have finally discovered my preferred old fashioned. It is warm in my chest, even with the ice, and the brandy seems to complement the sunshine.

There are places more familiar to me than this, but this is the first to feel like my own. My mouth is the softest now. I drive myself home.

It’s 63 degrees inside. The thermostat does not recognize my body in the house. I flip the switch on the gas fireplace. The brandy continues to seep into my veins. I morph from soft and warm to unfocused and antsy. I form ridges where there were rivers. In this new state the dishes get washed. The trash gets sorted from the recycling. I clear the surfaces to make space for the waning afternoon sunlight.

I chug sparkling water in a quest for my equilibrium.

It’s quiet in the house. My house. I run my palms along the banister. My feet search the floorboards. I watch the cobwebs in my room. I can smell the gas from the fireplace.

My senses spell out Wisconsin.

The inebriation results in detachment. I feel like my shadow has detached from my body. I run my hands through my hair–searching for groundedness. Although I’m home and standing still, my brain is overcome by the intoxication. I curl up on the couch and let myself give in to sleep.

I dream. I dream of everything. My dreams take on reality. I wake without distinction between dream and memory. My dreams clear the brandy from my veins. Sober now and the house seems fuller. I feel a little more familiar to myself. Reattached to my context. I’ve found the perfect house for all the rooms.

Aren’t you grateful that despite everything–the world can still offer up something strange and unknown? That there are still things to make sense of. Still things to write about. We collide and carry little pieces of each other away. Like ants in a line. Everything back to the queen.

I was born into lines–into boundaries–and I had them well charted. “The boundary’s been moved.” 2016 was the year I lost sight of the borderlands. What else will collide? The boundaries became semipermeable membranes. 2016 was the year of osmosis.


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