Tuesday

… one can either choose to live, or not. We have to tell ourselves a story that makes living possible.

— Katherine E. Standefer, Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life

And so we go on, telling our stories. My daughter returns from her one high school class on Monday morning, and tells me so many teachers were out.

I head to work, leaving her in front of the wood stove with her chrome book, the cats sprawled on either side of her.

At the library, a teen comes in and tells me he thinks the school will close soon. The teen lives on a back road and can’t drive yet. He’s a voracious reader. In the spring, he told me, he read everything in the house, then everything again and again, and finally resorted to Netflix. I tell him to take as many books as he wants. He fills a bag. When he leaves, I wonder when I’ll see him again. Maybe Wednesday. Maybe not.

And so we go on. I name our little wood stove Jenny.

Okay, my daughter says. She is part of our family.

Stay well.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

7 comments

  1. Good of you to give the young man a chocked full and lumpy bag of books. Very good. Supremely and imminently good. The story made me wonder how many books he had in his house in the first place, a handful, or shelves? Regardless, I am glad Jenny is treating you well in her old school “wood” way. GT

    1. I’m guessing there’s not a wall lined with shelves in his house. I’ve been curious about that, myself.

      I am utterly thankful for sweet Jenny — and our cat companionship — in these days. Thanks, as always, for checking in. Hope all is well with you and your family. 🙂

  2. That book looks fascinating and thought-provoking. I got caught up in the online review (haven’t gotten to the Sunday NYTBR yet) and articles and excerpts of the book.
    Do you know British writer Susan Hill’s book ‘Howard’s End is on the Landing’? She made a vow to not buy any new books for one year, and read or re-read what she already owned. It’s a great read, I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it! I have treasured being able to get books from our library, even though we can only pick-up and not browse. I fear that will be curtailed again if things get much worse.

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