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  • The bus jerked and stuttered to a stop -- the kind of stop that makes you wish you owned a car. I don't. I dragged my groceries down the steps, through a crowd of bus-stop smokers, down past the liquor store and the "Cash 4 Gold" shop and the new block of construction that forces me to walk three extra blocks just to get to the metro.

    I didn't sleep the night before. That could explain my brewing mood, somewhere between stormy and despondent. I banged my grocery bag against the curb on accident, and the wave of annoyance and frustration that followed made me tear my headphones from my ears. That podcast annoyed me. Grocery shopping annoyed me. Going home to a dark, empty apartment, where I would bake by myself and watch TV by myself, probably, on some level, annoyed me.

    But when I clanged through the side gate and stumbled down the basement stairs, I noticed something in the shadows outside my door. It was too dark and I was too nearsighted to see the address on the box. "Please be for me," I said aloud, dropping my groceries on the steps. "Please be for me, please be for me…"

    Sure enough, the sender's address was my mother's. I tore the box open with kitchen scissors, forgetting my groceries by the door. I propped the enclosed card next to my clock.

    I baked alone and laughed at all the jokes on that dumb podcast.
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