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Illustration by Jen Renninger

Kodak Moments [private]

The summer I turned twenty-six, I stopped taking pictures. This wasn’t just out of character—this was abnegation of character, so foundational was my belief in a photographic clenched fist around the past. I have always been a writer, but I’ve never been a competent diarist; until that summer, I had measured out my life with photo sleeves.

Then I stopped. And, because this was 2004, no one much noticed. This was before Facebook and Snapchat, before better living through Instagram filters, happiness as #humblebrag. It was before digital backups and the cloud, and because I was the kind of person who planned ahead for what I would rescue first from my apartment in a fire, I gave my photo albums—material and irreplaceable—pride of place by the door.

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Illustration by Marc Aspinall

But I’ve Got Ovid

After thirty years of disaster with men and fresh from a spanking-new heartbreak, I’m back in Miami, back in my dilapidated condo in paradise, to decide if it’s time to retire from love.

Even my mother thinks I should. When I called to tell her of the latest disaster, she sighed and said, Maybe, darling, you should give up on all that. Maybe it’s just time.

Okay, I’ve got other loves, after all. My broken-down mother. My blind old cat. A love poet who’s been dead two thousand years whose words I’m being paid to translate. A friend or two via text.

Photograph illustrations by Tabitha Soren. Photographs courtesy of the author.

The Hillendale House

For the first time in our lives our mother’s house on Hillendale Drive is dirty. She’s been on a walker for years and can’t bend at the hip but still won’t allow my sisters and me to bring someone in. We do it anyway. 

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