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…and it was sometime in the fall, before her 23rd birthday, that her heart, her small and weary core, neglected now for years, vanished a little, from the center out, took on the strange and hollowed heaviness of a weakly inflated balloon.

This wasn’t sadness—there were no feelings of desperation or disaster; nothing like depression with its one slowed-down realization of having been badly and untraceably misunderstood—but rather a plain, artless form of loneliness; something uninteresting, factual, and teachable, perhaps, to children or adults, with flashcards of household items (toothbrush, pillow), coloring books of fleeting, unaccompanied things (hailstones that melt midair; puddles formed and unseen and gone; illusions of friends in the periphery), and a few real-world assignments (post-nap trip to the pet store in the early, breezy evening; Halloween night asleep on the sofa; Saturday night dinner in the parking lot, looking through the windshield at the pizza buffet restaurant you just got take-out from).

SASQUATCH | tao lin
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