Chicago, IL
December 1998

Dear Diary,

Molly said I should pay attention to the words I write. I don't think she understands why I do this. I don't even think she tries to understand it. She thinks it's not important. It certainly doesn't put any more food on the table, she would say. Why does he bother? Does he think anyone cares? Does he really believe anyone would give a rat's ass about what he does, or writes, or says?

Molly goes on making dinner, peeling the onions, the potatoes, and the garlic. It's going to be a big dinner for today she went to the street market near the elementary school, and spent half of the week's salary on the fresh food. We know we only have enough food for one meal, but that doesn't stop me from relishing it, and it certainly doesn't stop Molly from singing, and smiling, and not caring about these things that I do.

I feel weird sometimes, like I am just fooling myself, like I'm building a castle of cards, something that means nothing to anyone but my distant memory. I look out the window, the empty street, a lit cigarette dangling from my mouth, while Molly glances at me from the kitchen, and winks as she holds a large Idaho potato in her tiny, skinny hands. I just nod because I understand her, even though she doesn't know that. Or, maybe, she does, but just doesn't believe it.

I take a deep drag from the cigarette, and let the smoke out the window very slowly. The TV is on, and some famous actress is talking to a reporter from some show I had never seen before. I wonder what the actress' name is, but I can't recall. The more I think about it, the more I forget it. And her name, which at once seemed so close, so easy to grasp, is now light years away, and I know I won't remember it, no matter how hard I try.

I decide to let it go, and take another drag as Molly comes out the kitchen, looks at the television and says, Oh my God, Look, It's Julia Roberts. I think, Damn it!, but don't say it because I'm too lazy to explain my thoughts to Molly, mainly now that she has devoted one hundred percent of her attention to the television show.

She works hard. She works too hard, and I can't take that moment from her. That's when she dreams. Not when we are in bed, making love. Not when we're eating, or talking. Not when she is not paying attention to what I say or do. No, she does not dream then. She dreams when the TV is on, and when she stops being Molly to become one of them, to become, What's her name?, Ah, yes, Julia Roberts.

See you tomorrow.


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