Christmas morning, sun filtering through the trees. Cats tumbling through tissue paper. My dad picks up a string and dangles it for Ripley—I can tell that he’s charmed. Whenever I leave the room and come back I hear about something the cats have done: for instance, sleeping on my dad while Cecile and I are running errands. It’s nice to see how well the cats fit in. It gives me hope that any transition would be an easy one. It also makes me weirdly proud, as if I’m the one responsible for their good behaviour.

Family visiting from Philadelphia. Family from Guelph. We play board games in the basement. For some reason I debate a cousin on the value of the entire medical insurance industry—but in a calm way that I hope may start to change his mind. I am conscious of a difference between us in terms of rhetorical ability that I try hard not to emphasize. Later, we trap him in a haunted basement, and tiles slowly flip to consume him in flames. (He is the traitor.) At nine o’clock, everyone leaves. I’m tired, I think from all of the sugar. I go to bed. 

*

Last night, a new moon. A new season—set your intentions for the new year. Easy advice to offer at the end of December. Easy advice to receive when anxious for answers, re-discovery, new beginnings.

While I am sleeping, a dream: we’re attending a performance: orchestra seats, moody red lighting. We can’t stop touching each other—in the same way, it now occurs to me, we couldn’t at Annabelle, earlier in December. I’m not sure who is on stage, but in the dream it was someone we had wanted to see for some time. During the course of the performance I think how grateful I am to be able to be sitting next to you. 

But of course, in the morning, you’re nowhere in sight. 

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