neon : rubies

Denver comes with a blast of dry air and a welcome-back nosebleed. You call vaguely-new netfriends and get an offer of electrons and wi-fi from his place of business. You pick up a rental car that cost a fourth of your Detroit rental and head through industrial Denver for a temporary place to roost.

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neon : self-provocation

You debated whether or not to write this part of the series, because you do not tell all your stories, and those told are often told with a maddening degree of obfuscation.

You could blame it on his glasses; you often do. It is easier for you to point to some unrelated circumstance and say, "This provoked me," when in fact you made your own choices based on criteria known only to yourself.

neon : fluorescence

You would never have told them ahead of time that the prospect of taking kids to the zoo terrified you, and you were glad later that you did not because paradoxically, it was easy, and the clouds were even kind enough to finish their business early enough to allow you time to play outside.

A few hours later you recognize the familiarity of the geeky-auntie role. You have painted Zoë's fingernails bright blue, and in a move that will shock and amuse many of your local friends, photographic evidence of a toddler sitting in your lap (by choice!) has been gathered.

neon : minnesota

You reassure yourself that O'Hare will not screw you like last time, despite your sub-forty-minute connection. The land on the other side of your second flight is unknown to you, but you get on the plane anyway, recognizing that every airport, every flight, on this trip leaches a little of your individuality away.

neon : faith in gravity

You finish the first day and those wings, they vanish like they've never been and you land, carefully, gingerly, in your sandals on your injured left foot. You call two of your oldest and most absent friends, who are in a genteel suburb a little to your west, and agree that dinner should be later rather than sooner.

neon : wings

You are late. His photographic memory was of a Detroit that no longer resembles the Detroit of today, and the library is closed. There is no parking, and you are achingly aware that you are late. You are failing before you can even walk in the building, and the horrific sensation of falling is claiming your stomach even as you walk toward your classroom.

You have a classroom. That'll be one square inch of stomach lining, please.