He is hungry at half-past five in the morning. I have a headache. I go in to feed him. He is so big, soft. His body curls, settles.

I cannot go back to sleep, though I lay down and try. The sun is bright coming through the window and I’m suddenly glad I moved the books into our bedroom because for a moment, looking at them, I feel surrounded. Is it strange to say I feel protected? As if they were a number of friends who would do battle for me.

But I cannot sleep and I keep thinking of the beach. I put on my swimsuit and grab a towel and drive down, a craving for the grip of the waves. The sun is already high, high, the day this far gone, the distance from the sun to the lake.

The water is cold. I love the cold because it is simple, my mind uncluttered. It is a quick swim, the sun is dazzling. This moment is clarity, it is pure light. I run out of the water and instantly feel warm, all the blood moving to the surface of my skin. I am an ember. I am alone.


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