I swim in the morning, treading water in the municipal pool until my muscles fatigue. I am trying to loosen the knots that always wind their way tighter in my shoulders. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with you. My arms open wide across the blue water, and then close again as they near my body.

It’s your birthday. Today you watched from the moon as we made you a cake. Then we cried as we ate it in the living room, on our new couch with the stain-resistant fabric top.

The cake pan was the one I bought last year, before you were born. If you were here, we would have used the same pan to make your cake. Therefore the pan is like a scrying mirror into the other world. If I bake in it perfectly, I can see my life again.

There are still people who don’t know that you died. I feel a mysterious pull to hold on to those people, even while I know that I can never see them again.

I have been doing nothing. I have been waiting. Pouring water after water into my body just to wait for it to exit, like a tube.

One of us said the phrase perverse freedom. Freedom you never wanted, freedom you feel shitty about. I am free like a flyer jammed in threes into the door of an apartment building. I am free like Buy One Get One Free. I am the one you get free.