Long Nights

With the time change, darkness drifts in early, aided by rain. Like an old friend, the long nights are familiar.

When I return from work, just after five, my 12-year-old is not jumping on the trampoline, watching for me. Instead, she’s rearranging her room. She’s hit middle school heartache, where her friend has turned to a cliche and boy watching. My daughter hands me pictures of herself and her friend, asking for them to disappear. In one photo, the girls’ cheeks are sprinkled with red chalk.

May’s forsythia is a long way off. My daughter dyes paper circles for flower petals. For now, that color will need to suffice.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth….

From Naomi Shahib Nye’s “Before You Know Kindness”

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