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I couldn’t sleep last night – hard-core couldn’t sleep; I’m thinking of going into work late today – and I found myself thinking of places I’ve been. Specifically, the places where I’ve spent significant time and am unlikely to ever visit again.


A basement apartment I lived in while working in DC, where I had a little space heater in the bathroom and where I should have had a dehumidifier in the living room.

My office at the university where I worked for five years, where I had two nice windows and an enormous aloe plant I’d inherited and wide wooden filing cabinets.

All of the dorm rooms I’ve ever entered, lived in, or visited, with their tapestries/cinder block walls/colorful duvet covers/musty unwashed smells/bookshelves and neglected desks.

Elementary schools I attended long ago, who knows if they’re even still standing.

My apartment in graduate school, where I could hear fighting between a neighbor couple so clearly that I called the police and then crouched in a corner in my bedroom when they arrived.

The homes of women who could have become my mothers-in-law at different points in my life but never did, the green carpet and the standing jugs of water and the prolific gardens and the floral wallpaper and the woodstoves and the long driveway or the no driveway at all.

The back room of the retail store where I worked my first real job, where I would open product after product, pulling apart cardboard boxes and slicing open plastic bags, sometimes with a cowowker and sometimes, mind drifting, all alone.

A Parisian apartment I did not like, that was not well-equipped for visitors, but that had a balcony that made up for almost everything.

My grandparents’ homes, each a certain breed of quiet, air conditioner humming. A clock, or a TV. Silence again.

A place where I fell in love, a place where I fell in love, a place where I thought I fell in love.

So many corners of the world, here and then gone. So many corners, mine and mine and mine and then not mine in the end, at all.

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