Over the last week, my apartment has been a place of great emotional unrest. A place of raging hormones and ridiculous outbursts. A place of complete and utter chaos.

It is completely amazing that, with the thickness of the air and the eggshells scattered all over my world, I have managed to remain (for the most part) sane. And well, everyone around me too.

My Uncle died this week. Great Uncle, actually. He had been an alcoholic and a smoker and then a cancer patient and finally the victim of a stroke just around Christmas time before telling my aunt that he just wanted to give up. Honestly, it was no surprise. He was worn out. He was tired of fighting. And he didn’t want to put the family through any more. He didn’t want to put himself through any more.

I have been so distracted by the mood that seems to be hitting people like bowling pins, that I hadn’t really even paused to remember the last time I had even seen him. Until this morning. Obviously, we weren’t close but it was different when I was little. He used to lift me up to reach the crabapples in the tree in his back yard. I used to pick them, take a bite, wince, and throw them at my cousins. More recently, he had become a shadow. A presence that you could sense when you were in the house, but you never saw him. Even on Christmas Eve, while sitting in his kitchen with the whole family, he was there…but never truly there. Invisible.

I’m saddened. But my mind races and my heart sinks. I’ve had a short fuse and an unpredictable tendency to break apart into little pieces. When I am not working on a paper or taking a test, I am looking for a job or trying to put Spliff back together. I don’t have time to think or feel or concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes. I don’t have time to just be.

When Spliff crawled into my bed this morning, it was the first normal moment there has been in weeks. It was almost like all the heaviness had been lifted and I could finally relax. It was like years ago when she would want to spend the day running around on the beach and couldn’t wait for me to get up so she would take matters into her own hands, burst into my room and either pull me out of bed by my ankles or stand at the edge of the bed and prepare for a dive that would leave me either laughing or cussing. Only this time it was eerie and not quite right. There were things to take care of. But for a second, we could laugh like nothing was wrong.

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