Insomnia

She didn’t want to be with anyone or be anywhere in particular, so she drove around until the earth turned away from the sun.

(The earth was always turning around to let the sun kiss every side of it. If it stopped its perpetual spinning—if it got tired, if it got dizzy—there would be no rhythms or seasons, no more autumns to fatten the grapes in the vineyards and set the trees aflame on the river’s edge, no more morning oblations washed in mother-of-pearl, no more gravity to keep the seconds and heartbeats and particles from flying away into outer space.)

She parked in front of her house–her little nest, feathered with her own favorite things: Grandma’s doilies, the whistling teakettle and friendly books, the corded trim-line phone that felt smooth and comfortable in her hand. She remembered a desperado from Colima saying, wistfully, “I like dees house… Ees no poor, but ees no fancy… I like it.”

But the house had gone to pot since she had been working and she was afraid that it would swallow her up if she went inside. So she stayed in her car and listened to the rain on the roof for a while.

Inside the house, she flipped on a light, kicked off her shoes, hung up her bag and her coat. She had stopped at the local general store and wandered through isles of shelves stocked with hot sauce and Our Lady of Guadalupe candles until she had found a bag of cinnamon (the sweet, crumbly kind from Ceylon) and then she had stood in a line, surrounded by men carrying cases of beer and joking over her head in a language she didn’t understand. Now she wondered what they were joking about as she took the cinnamon out of its brown paper bag and placed it on the spice shelf, between the cardamom and the smoked paprika. She ate cold leftovers and put a load of dirty laundry in the washing machine. She turned on the news and watched the world going to hell…

Tomorrow was Monday, so she performed her bedtime routine, read a Psalm, said a prayer.

She was restless though. Drops of salt water leaked out of her eyes and fell, hot, on her pillow for no reason. When the rain clouds had dissolved, she noticed that the moon seemed larger and closer than usual, and blood red. She drifted off to dreamland and was adorably overrun by a stampede of puppies and kittens and woke up a few hours later, sweating. A dozen things crowded into her mind—random lists scribbled on post-it notes.

Finally, she went into the bathroom and got into the bathtub and turned on the faucet and lay down, and the warm water cradled her and filled up the silence.

Before she went back to bed, she opened a window.

The wind had changed direction.

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