Small ziplock of liver treats in my winter coat, cut into tiny cubes that have somehow retained their shape. Hallam is almost unpassable on the south side—but I learn quickly that the ice isn’t everywhere so thick. Nostalgic light—children wait in their coats, kicking at the snow, while their parents lock up behind them. 

Second light like this in which I do not know you. Wake up from a dream that turns angry—you’ve invited someone to stay with you in the house up north, you take the master bedroom, I sleep in the basement, and still you won’t talk to me. I’m working outside and you go into the garage to paint—to get away, you say. There’s an animal strung up via something hanging down from the rafters, from a kite or lifejacket or the straps of something else displaced. It is struggling in the dim light. 

It seems like a dog—a whippet—but as I move closer I discover it is a fawn, panicked and wild. And you aren’t painting. You’re sitting on the tractor, where you explain that the deer was like that when you entered, and that anyway you’ve given up the dog that I thought it was—he had some minor complication which compelled you to make a switch. 

I am surprised that you could do that.  

I think we should lower the deer but am too afraid to go near it—you seem unconcerned, don’t want to help me, and are proven right in the end, as the deer shakes itself loose, bounds out of the garage on its own when I go to check up on it again. Still we aren’t talking, but communicating in the pages of a spiral-bound notebook that you’ve taken with you into the garage. 

Things are going well until you begin to write “Maybe next year…” and then cross it out. (“Is it evil?” you have recently wondered while making a similar statement.) I say I am going to march into the bedroom, kick the man—you say his name is “Jeff”—out. That’s not why I am angry but it feels like something I can control. In any case there’s really no reason he should be there—you have taken things too far, involved me when I need not be involved.

Something I picked up from the internet: “I am allowed to be angry with people when they hurt me, even if they are sensitive and can’t cope well with being told they did something wrong. Their sensitivity does not mean I have to bottle up my feelings and their lack of coping skills does not make me expressing my anger abusive.” 

Times when I couldn’t even say it. Couldn’t report the feeling without a back up, a fight. Even knowing that I loved you. What was left then but eruption, without the privacy of disengagement, of working towards some good end for bad feelings? If there is no room for disappointment then everything comes to an end. 

But I know I did the same.

Oh well. On my walk back this morning a mantra from a meditation that I am intimately familiar with comes to me, over and over. The most important phrase, I suddenly realize—notice, and let go. Notice, and let go. Acknowledgment and dispersal. It’s what I’m training myself to do.