The Sunday laundry hangs limp from the drying rack. E's tights and jeans and underwear stare back at me. I am restless, as sunlight grows across the bedroom reaching into corners behind doors and then the hallway. That burnt ozone smell drifts through the cracks in the windows, the scent of electricity and trains.
Another ultimatum has come down.
I am now being censored. Every Monday I was afforded the right to tuck a message in a bottle and toss it out into the world. I spoke the truth and withheld names. I found relief in free expression. Now I am being told if I write anything critical, specifically about E's mother I will pay the consequences. Legal or not, valid or not, serious consequences will be the result.
The light has painted itself from the balcony windows all the way under the kitchen table.
Living under ongoing threats, living in fear for years is very different than a few months. There are sprints and there are marathons but they both end. This is a race that never ends, and cannot be won. It can only be endured.
The sun is hard on my face now, and I have to squint. I want to stay here in this quiet room next to the bed with half a cup of coffee on the little black table. I always write here. I can look out at the sky when I am stuck, or at the textured beige wallpaper that peels at the edges just a little where it meets the ceiling. There is so much to write that will now go unsaid but I will not make excuses. Plenty of writers created masterworks in situations just like this. Maybe our story has grown stale and this will inspire a new perspective, a new gem to polish until it sparkles, a gem to stare into as I search for its center.
The coffee cup is empty now. I am already wondering what to cook for dinner, shifting my thoughts from fear and anger to the creative obstacles of flour and butter, of meat and salt. In the kitchen, I am free.