I stopped by the old house tonight after work to check on things. I haven’t moved our stuff out completely. There’s no need. No one will ever move in, not when so many fancier houses sit completely empty, awaiting polite well-intentioned squatters. Plus, there’s no one around to help me transport furniture or tote heavy boxes from the old place to the new. Dr. Cohen is the only person left alive on our block, other than me.
Newspaper and magazine clippings about your being chosen as the Dalai Lama are still up in the bulletin board in the hallway by the mirror. You were so cute, sweetie. Wise, yes, gifted, I’ll grant you all that—but still—such a cute little baby! I loved you so, so much.
I love you now, too, of course. But now my love is taking on a musty nostalgic quality, the love of an empty nester. Your present self is now unfamiliar.
It was awful having you, my two and a half year old, taken away. The only positive aspect of your fame for me is that if you perished in the Apocalypse, I would have heard something by now through one of the still-surviving news channels. Regular people like Mason and Eve and their children, I’ll never know about. But you, dear child—the world would want to know about.
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.