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My husband and I are 8-track tape and candy cigarettes years old. All-the-maps-are-out-of-date years old. And it's 25 years of in-jokes o'clock. Our children scattered across the land. The smell of the dinner he cooked for me while I rested my eyes.

I once dreamed I walked across the United States, only the land was an unfurled paper map, the kind they used to sell at gas stations. My feet were my feet. Regular. So my steps had to be small. Oakland to Amherst in a halting toddle.

Another night, I sped behind the wheel in a Technicolor dream, the glove box filled with chicken and wine, the windshield glass a curvy magnifier, panning across the orange Southwest.

Tonight, there are no dreams or sleep. The only orange a fat tabby on the curve of my lower back. My husband's marine smell and soft snore. Outside our closed bedroom door, the toilet and refrigerator sing to one another across the dusty floors of our bungalow.

Like a bored tattoo artist, the tabby dips needles into my skin.

Story by:

Patricia Quintana Bidar

6 April 2018