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Izakaya.

Now. I’m on a train. The view to my right is all but covered in green, Connecticut sending its finest forests and marshes past my window. I’m on my way home, having spent twenty-five hours in New York City. The trip was more hectic than my last one, but just as good.

Last night, after dinner. I’m walking my sister to the subway. I’m hugging her good-bye, and she thanks me for dinner. We’re hugging again. She’s moving to leave, but takes a minute at the top of the stairs. She asks if she can borrow a dollar. I hand her a ten, squeeze her shoulder, and leave. I buy some toothpaste on the way back to my hotel, my eyes a little wet.

Before dawn. I’m up too early, cycling through things I’d forgotten to add to my notes. The night before a talk, my mind always frantically runs through a litany of to-dos—add that transition, delete that section, be sure to rehearse your introduction. I play a few games on my phone, then read for a bit. After an hour or so, I fall back asleep. My brain remains terrible.

Morning, into afternoon. I’m at Skillshare’s offices, recording a new class for them. Their team’s incredibly good at what they do, and make me feel right at home. They buy me lunch. We talk about how we landed in our careers, we talk about weekend plans, we get back to work. We finish early. They tell me they’re happy with how the class turned out. I’m happy about it, too.

Now. I’m an hour from home.

Last night, dinner. Our table is next to a rather lovely mural of some cherry blossoms. I ask my sister which seat she’d prefer, and she asks for the bench. I order sake and ramen, and a few appetizers to share; she orders a cold udon dish. She says her dinner is great. (Mine is fine.) (The sake is excellent.) She’s still having real trouble finding a steady job, but she smiles when she talks about her boyfriend.

Morning, before work. I check out of my hotel, and walk a few blocks to a nearby café. I read the news, scowling, then chuck my phone back into my bag. I make a few last-minute edits to my slides, then review my notes. I eat an apple turnover to ward off the caffeine jitters. A mother chides her young son for trying to climb up on the counter. (Twice.) He’s clutching a rainbow flag, and waves it at everyone. I think his name is Cobalt.

Now. The train’s slowing, slowing, as it pulls into South Station. I’m home.


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