art by Kirsten Kramer

My medical leave days

I wake up, hoping I was dreaming in Spanish... FaceTime my therapist if it’s Monday; walk Lily, during which, I tend to “cry it out;”

I wake up, hoping I was dreaming in Spanish; brush my teeth; wash my face and apply copious sunscreen; take my morning pills and vitamins; FaceTime my therapist if it’s Monday; walk Lily, during which, I tend to “cry it out;” write a lot, send the writing to a few trusted souls for editing, sometimes send it to family who have the authority to block publishing, and who, at times, exercise that right; try to call my mom who never calls me and only sometimes answers my calls (“you’ve trained me all these years to never call because you’re always busy — she means on-deadline, and it’s true, I literally always was — !”); try to germinate seeds, try to adequately water but not drown my plants that have already germinated (fail at least once), try to transport potted plants into the ground (“oh, those are going to die during the frost”; “mom, there is no frost anymore”), try to keep Lily from digging up while I de-weed my yard where I recently planted 30 sunflower seeds but have no idea of their exact locations, worry that I just pulled up my (perhaps budding?) sunflowers, ask my neighbor what her budding sunflowers look like and whether they look like my weeds but somehow never receive an answer; try to invest in the stock market only to realize I have no money; walk Lily during the golden hour with Lawrence, on which we scope out future homes, and I, occasionally, against the will of Lawrence, bicker with a neighbor because her (bad dogs) scare Lily (“you’re going to be that grumpy old lady in the neighborhood,” mom says); do fake pilates I made up but which impress Lawrence because I can still do a backbend, a skill I learned when I was five, and one I would never be able to learn today; convince Lawrence, who has been cooking dinner since finishing work (he’s as amazing as he seems), to instead of eat said dinner “while it’s hot,” lie on a blanket (his cousin made for our marriage gift and that we all, especially Lily, love) on the floor with me while we listen to my Spotify, which is getting really good by the way (Lily mostly runs around licking our faces, jumping on our bellies); cheat on my meditation app and count the lying-on-the-floor as a session (I am a monster); eat Lawrence’s delicious dinner, which is still hot, by the way, while watching La Casa de las Flores, a Netflix original, spoken in Spanish with English subtitles, which takes place in a wealthy suburb of Mexico City and Madrid (it is everything I need right now); carry Lily upstairs, brush my teeth, wash my face again, and apply Retin-A cream to treat my drug-induced-menopause-created acne; take my evening pills and vitamins; fall asleep immediately for 10 hours. 🌻

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