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  • I never really know how to answer the question.

    That's not true. Not exactly.

    I have an answer, but the words I might use aren't ones they understand even though we speak the same language. My head hurts from trying to find the right balance. My voice aches from struggling to hit the right tone. Most of the time, it's just easier to listen.

    "Is it rowing season, yet?" I ask. "Is your daughter on the team again this year?"

    "How goes the remodeling? Did you buy your tickets yet for the Indy 500? How goes the training for your half marathon? How's the dog?"

    I know and understand the words they will use. I listen. I care. I just don't think they get what I am saying or how I feel when I try to give them my own response to the question.

    "What did you do this weekend?"

    Any given weekend, it's different. It's good. It's bad. It's life.

    "I went to California," they'll get.

    "To see desert flowers in bloom," not so much.

    I imagine explaining the rest of what happened. The border guards. Talking in Spanish. Translating.

    Before the desert, we went to the southwest corner of the state to see families meet on either side of the border and talk through a fence, but instead, people were protesting on both sides, in both countries, about the way farmworkers are treated by Driscolls Berries... I would avoid them, the berries, I mean. Not the protests or workers.

    Then, we waded through grand stretches of a washed out road and trumped through mud to get back to the truck. On the way, I stopped ankle deep in muddy water to get pictures of flowers in bloom and fledgling birds because, well, that's what I do.

    I've tried in the past; most of my coworkers have looked slightly horrified.

    "You did what?"

    "Oh. We went to a park. It was lovely."

    Instead of telling them the full story, I write and ask questions. I listen. I know what they mean and I'm glad they've had lovely weekends. I'm glad I've had mine.
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