Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 4, 2013

Dear Tatum,

You know I hate to leave. I cried both times the airplanes left the ground, thinking of how much I didn’t want to leave you, and of not wanting to face what was ahead. They were just a few tears, really. When I landed the ground was dry, the sky was clear, and there was a sweet breeze in the air (if you ignored that I was waiting to be picked up near the smoking section at an airport). The weather was so unlike home with its flash floods and pervasive dampness. I wanted to be happy to be here, but I just didn’t feel the same excitement as usual; there were too many questions ahead.

Michigan picked me up and drove me to her house. She fed me—potato salad, roasted beets, and a pesto salad—then we drove downtown to see the fireworks. We caught the last few minutes and the grand finale. I like to think they were there for the sole purpose of welcoming me to town and nothing to do with the country’s birthday. When we got back to the house Slip was there with her new boyfriend, Arrow, and I chatted with them for a few minutes before heading to bed. Slip gave me a hug and told me she was glad I was here even if I wasn’t. Arrow shook my hand. While I wasn’t excited to be here, it was a warm welcome.

In the morning Michigan fed us all breakfast—eggs from her chickens with kale from the garden—then Slip drove me to see Grandma, but not before doing our best to answer Van’s question: What, exactly, is a hipster? We did our best, using Slip and Arrow as examples while remembering that, similar to autism and other disorders, hipsters fall within a spectrum. We were, as usual, unsuccessful at defining the term, and Slip and I were soon on our way. It was good to see Grandma, and everyone said she’d improved after being rehydrated, but she was skinnier and slower than she’d been five months before. When people ask me how she is, I say she’s dying, but it’s slow. And that’s how it is. Hopefully I can get her home and out of the “skilled nursing facility” as soon as possible.

I hope you’re enjoying your time with Rice but keeping me in your thoughts.



The view from the airplane just before landing.