Sometimes the pain is domesticated. Rooms filled with absence. Rooms overrun with details that matter to the extent that they don't. And sometimes the pain is exoticized, recast as pleasure at its most perverse. Three people with the wrong color sweat. They curl forward towards the coffee table, making sure the dollar bill is rolled as tightly as one of those Pepperidge Farm cookies. Too vague. He can hear his teacher's clipped middle-class accent. "What kind do you mean? They could be Milanos or Bordeauxs." Pirouettes, then. Anyway, that's not the point. He opens the refrigerator, adding smiles to his vision of timid people using drugs to communicate. But he meant to open the freezer instead. He needs ice cubes. There they are, the drawer brimming over. The reliability of ice cube reproduction brings happiness more regularly than most things in life. Here, at least, is a loss that doesn't linger.
These are the questions I find myself posing more and more. What should I bring with me? What should I leave behind? They have imposed severe restrictions on baggage, you tell me. I picture a cartoon, the sort that appears in The New Yorker. A man is studying the new regulations. At his side are suitcases labeled "high school", "parents", "first wife" and "drinking problem." His thought bubble reads, "Only one?"