listening to aretha belting out sad songs to balance my happy mood. imagining a magical cooter that can cook citrine bursts of crystal sunshine, like pearls from oysters. waking from a short nap with a long dream. drinking iced tea and eating fat-free shredded cheese while ignoring the ice cream in the freezer. wondering how to remind him of what he understood last night but had already forgotten this morning. planning my escape. mapping the exits. singing quietly, changing the words at will. making up scenarios for how it might end, how it could begin again, how to avoid repeating that loveless love cycle. lighting the to do list on fire and watching it burn. writing a new list, a much shorter list. answering the unasked question. asking the next question. breathing another sigh. getting up to dance. shaking my ass and shaking out stress. spinning, spinning, spinning across the floor. waltzing on tears that got stuck between my toes. my face is dry. dancing my way back to standing stillness. aretha keeps singing. i can always count on aretha to keep singing. today i’m smiling. yesterday i paced at the top of the highest hill in austin and screamed a scream that no one could hear just after sunset. releasing pain. emptying out the old. allowing new possibilities to arise. joining the song.