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I stepped out of Doller Tree, two pool noodles tucked under my arm. The sunset reminded me of my childhood—summer nights playing sardines across the street, barefoot—Burmuda grass rough under my feet. But I didn’t care. It was dusk, and the air perfumed with honeysuckle. How my friends and I laughed, intoxicated with being unchaperoned in the dark. Those nights were some of my happiest memories.

An ache to be a little pony-tailed girl again, to see my mother, welled up in me. Grief from being too long apart from her reached up and squeezed my throat. I drew in a sharp breath, exhaled, and choked back a sob. “This is ridiculous,” I said as I pushed the noodles into the back of my Suburban. “It’s just a sunset.” I shook my head, trying to clear the longing.

I sat in the car for some time, wondering if I could take time off and book a flight to see her. “I miss you, Momma,” I said, my voice breaking with emotion, and turned on the engine. I drove the back roads home, remembering the worn-out, dusty roads that lead to our farm. “it’s over too soon, God. I want to hold on, but there isn’t anything to grasp.”

“Loss makes everything that you still have, unimaginably sacred,” God whispered.

“Then everything in my life is sacred.” The light vanished from the sky as I pulled into my parking space. I walked the steps to my door in the dark.

I’ll appreciate what I have while I still have it,” I promised. I went inside and opened my laptop, and typed in


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