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Midnight Prayers in the Church of St. John Coltrane

1. My new turntable comforted me all weekend. I popped its cherry with "Other Worlds Other Sounds" by Esquivel And His Orchestra. Now a Coltrane compilation is crackling over the speakers, a fireplace for the blind.

2. She was in her office during my mail run. I gave her one of her favorite magazines but did not stay to chat. I want to talk with her but I always get out and away as fast as I can. Most of the time, I don't even look at her when I pass her office--unless she addresses me first. Later, she turned up in the mailroom to ship something. And we talked for a bit. And I wanted to rub her arms and her back and put my face in her hair and hold her for the rest of the winter. She went away after laughing at something I said. It used to thrill me when I could make a woman laugh. But now it just frustrates me, because I'm telling her something to make her laugh rather than telling her what I really want to tell her. My sense of humor--once a coping-and-defense mechanism--now a fog bank in which I am hopelessly lost.

3. What do the evenings do to you? You eventually get old enough to realize your life is half-over. And that horrible thing filling your throat? That's the lack of air. It amazes me the infinite number of ways emptiness can be defined and configured. All this birth and death around us: the Earth won't remember a single one.

4. Remember that last hour of daylight, that brief moment when the driveway was suddenly brighter than it had been all day? And then the sun was down. And it was time for us to take all our toys indoors and wash up and take our places at the dinner table. All these years later, I can still see your face in that final hour of light--and, like the driveway, your face was brighter than it had been all day.

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