It’s cloudy, this evening. The sky is a comforting periwinkle, that I remember so well from when I commuted to the New York City yoga studio in the pre-dawn. I know this shade is not affected, here, by the recent fire that made my quiet street feel, again, like that city I left behind. But such a comparison makes me laugh, because this calm section of Pittsburgh could never in its wildest dreams feel like New York. Helicopters and sirens and all; I just assume it has to do with one of the nearby hospitals and, as my mother always says, I hope everyone and anyone being transported are ok.

Tonight my heart is quiet and singing softly to itself, harmonizing with the kettle’s whistle in which I’ve set to boil water for tea…

For a while I learned the pleasure of a harmony, something that I had never experienced before. My voice was not of the right range to sing soprano, thankfully, but I did catch the alto parts and, while less showy, they were beautiful to me. Except for that time we learned a few songs from “Les Miserables,” that is. I wanted the soaring lead vocals and had to be contented with the lower, complementary parts. When I finally saw the film version, myself, at home, I made sure to sing all the parts, heart and lips open, tears streaming down my cheeks, identifying with characters who did not exist, who would never exist, yet who felt and ached and lost and died, as real as onscreen life.

I don’t see the twinkle of stars tonight. I don’t hear their song. Instead, I hear the yawn of my wineglass as I set it down, and fetch the tea, quiet the kettle. A stillness. Almost a silence except for Sufjan Stevens. My heart is full, my heart is weary. My heart is listening, feeling at home in a place that felt like home the second I disembarked from the tiny tin can airplane,. My heart remains contented, if struggling to remember the tune.

I learned today in yoga that I’m still claustrophobic. I let out a silent screech as my teacher reminded me to breathe through the fear. The room was too quiet to really let loose a howl, so instead I let in the oxygen, let out the carbon dioxide. Here the air is clean enough to breathe, and somehow, eventually, the tinnitus will fade because there will be a strong melody, hummed soothingly waiting to help me over the sharpest edge of this cliff and along the same wooded trail.

Did I mention I’m a romantic? I used to be an idealist. Thank fuck I grew up.

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