bonne année ennui

It snowed last night while we were out. It was still snowing when I trudged back home, alone and more sober than I would have liked, and it kept snowing until the morning, when my sister dragged me out of bed at nine o'clock and took me to the little diner half a mile from the house.

Nobody was out, so the city still looked clean and new--a rare gift on New Year's Day. We were the only customers in the diner and the waitress told me we were the first ones she'd had all day, which was probably for the best. "I didn't even drink that much," I said, mostly for the benefit of my sister. "Why do I feel so gross?"

"Probably because you haven't showered all year."

"And because you woke me up at nine on New Year's Day. Why are we here?"

She didn't answer. Instead she stirred her coffee and asked, "Do you remember when we came here with a vegetarian who didn't know linguica was a sausage dish?"


"Good times."

"I'm not sure I follow."

"All right. You remember that guy who was always talking about the distinction between literature and stories that aren't proper literature, or whatever?"


"It doesn't have to mean anything to be beautiful. I see you, okay? Now it's your turn. Look. See." She pointed out the window with her spoon, dripping coffee on my napkin. "I wanted you to see something beautiful before we fuck it all up again."

"It still sounds like you're trying to impart meaning."

"That's what humans are for, dear sister," she said. "We see a series of coincidences happen on an arbitrary date and we say 'oh, that must mean something.' Meaning is a fiction we create. You're the writer. You should know that."

It's never that simple, of course, but she was probably right. More or less.

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