Last week, Sis-in-Law M and Niece M arrived in the wee hours of the morning and battled back the startlingly huge heap of loneliness that had engulfed me since I regained independence post foot surgery.

It was their first time visiting Boston. Familiar faces in a familiar city, but yet, an unfamiliar pairing.

They saw me and my apartment with new eyes. I saw my city with new eyes. They traveled to places they’d never been before. I traveled to places I’d been before, but with an unsteady gait. Sightseeing redefined.

We shared stories and laughter and pictures and food and directions and expectations and cabs and bus schedules and a bucket full of coke in a souvenir Fenway cup. Art museums x2 and empty frames and my own wall of art showcasing Niece M’s talent and jelly candy crush and emojis and Fenway and an almost no-hitter and my walking cast and waiting waiting waiting for public transportation and quiet nights in and comfy clothes and cards and movies and talking and learning and being in the same time zone as my long distance family.

Doing the most family of family things: spending time together. A gift not un- or under-appreciated.


Our time together was more limited than originally planned (due to my slowly healing foot), but we made the most of the time we did have. It was within those minutes and hours together that the daily details of our lives were revealed. Questions asked and answered and bit by bit understanding took shape. Overlapping old memories and stories. New memories and stories. Learning who they are now and who I am and what they would be doing right now if they were home. Picturing them there. Reveling in them here.

Honesty. Lots of honesty.

In the wee hours of another morning, my ears heard a rustling and my bleary eyes saw motion. “Sorry sorry sorry,” I stage whispered as turned on all the kitchen lights. “I think I saw a mouse.”Having woken up on the air mattress on the floor, aka way closer than I ever wanted to be to a mouse, I stood on the misplaced ottoman and vowed never to touch the floor again. My hands jittered and I typed all caps lock messages to my super and the girls offered encouragement from the safety of the bed.”Gross gross gross gross gross.” I aimed my flashlight at the stove the likely place of entrance/escape and hoped mice were afraid of light. My stomach swirled and churned. Part mouse related, part “the girls are leaving me soon” related. I turned off the flashlight and grabbed a bowl to throw at the mouse should it reappear.

It made sense at the time. #Exhaustion.

Floor and counter spaces opened up as they collected their things. The emptiness of my apartment echoed in my heart. I guess, at least, I have the mouse for company?!

And potentially a cat. Yes. I’m definitely getting a cat now. Immediately.

Families. Tricky sticky bunches of love. I want all of it and more of it and why can’t we all live in the same neighborhood and be loud and messy and in each other’s business and see each other all the time and be so intermingled unfamiliarity is a word that only has meaning in a foreign language.

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