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Signs of life

It's the night before the night before Christmas, and you are trying desperately to remember the last time your bedside table was this clumsy, this full of books still unread.

But nostalgia isn't a direct flight, and it isn't even a taxi ride. Before it gets you to where you want to go it stops at different locations: bizarre ones, heavily-populated ones, ones you used to go to, ones you never thought you'd buckle yourself into again. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it doesn't; sometimes it surprises you how quickly you're brought back to a place, a person, a point. Once you're there, you're confused and ecstatic and all kinds of lost, because you know this isn't where you're going but it feels almost sublime - not quite, but almost, and God knows how enough that almost feels like. You stay, you linger, you latch on to it, until you realize it's been a while and you're not supposed to be there on those steps (or at least not anymore). You start walking, in an effort to get to your stop - or maybe just back to your point of origin, you're not sure, you're kind of disconcerted now, the landing was kind of bumpy and you forgot to take your aspirin - but do your feet bring you there? Do your hands?

You look at you bedside table, and you are only halfway through you stack of unfinished books. Then you see No One Belongs Here More Than You, bottom of the pile on the other shelf, yellow cover still pristine - and of course you reach out for it, of course you do, but not before mouthing the words to the first few lines like the chorus to a favorite song.