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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

It has happened more than twice in a period of one week. I find myself scrolling through my pictures, looking for something in particular, and instead end up lost. You know when I say that I should be more organized? What I am really saying is that I should have my photographs better organized. I don't tag anything or name anything or put anything into albums. The best I can do is try to remember what year I uploaded the picture. Good luck with that. So, there I am, rolling through page after page of pictures. My life moves backwards in a blur. Memories flashing by like a flip book. Sometimes I linger over one, but often I zip on by.

There's a small box on the bookshelf that contains some keepsakes. Old pictures. Christmas cards. For some reason I can't seem to toss the Christmas card that have family pictures on them. I was still looking for a certain picture when I opened that box. The picture I was looking for was not there, but instead I found pictures from our college days. There was one of Jen when we'd dolled her up for homecoming because she'd been in the running for homecoming queen. There was Amy and Chris and maybe Jen sitting at a table in the snack bar with their arms stretched out overhead as they all did their best impression of a snail. It was during one of those late night study sessions. I noticed a few snapshots from the UFO trip. Then there was a stack of wedding photos. God...we were so young and ridiculous. 

The next thing I know, I find myself scrolling through Chris's flickr feed. I don't even know why. I wouldn't find the picture I was looking for there. There is no reason for me to be looking at this space. I scroll through anyway. There are so many pictures of Chris because of all the 365 day projects. I watch him lose weight, gain weight, lose more weight. Occasionally there is a picture of him and Traci and it makes me wince. I still feel responsible, guilty, like I ruined it all for the two of them. I am sorry Traci. For what, I am not even sure I have words for. I am sorry even though deep down I know know know that I have nothing to be sorry for. Eventually I make it all the way back in his flickr feed when he is still wearing glasses. I remember how long it took me to get used to him without them after his eye surgery. Now it seems so odd to see him wear them. 

I am picking at scabs. That is what this is. It is a canker sore on the inside of my lip that I constantly poke with the tip of my tongue. It is because I have started writing a little bit here and there on an old story. A story no one will really want to read, but one I am afraid to forget. Also I am filling up with words. Their sharp edges are starting to poke me from the inside. I burp letters. Finding the time to do this seems impossible. I imagined the other day getting on the train and riding it to St. Louis or Chicago. I'd just get on the train with my laptop and sit and write while the country passes by. No distractions. No cleaning up after others. No demands or grabs for my attention. Nothing except for the occasional glance out the window. I'd get to the end of the line and just turn around and come back. I mentioned this idea to a friend at work. I said I'd get on the train with just my laptop and she said "and write!" before I could finish my own sentence. 

Maybe she could see the jagged edges of all the words poking out of me. Maybe it just seems obvious that I have stories weighing me down.