Writing the Distance: Lesley Hammer

The Covid 19 pandemic is isolating Alaskan writers. We can no longer attend workshops or public readings. The coffee bars where we met with other writers are closed. To bridge these physical gaps, 49 Writers is providing this on-line forum for Alaskans writing the distance. Today, Lesley Hammer provides a reflection and photograph.

Break Up Promise

Last April, I swung into a local coffee shop to grab a cup of brew to warm up my afternoon. You know the kind of day; 100 shades of grey, low clouds, wet breeze. Ice glazing the ground. I parked and got out, eyes focused downward, searching for bits of gravel and bare asphalt. Looking for a path with traction. That is when I saw her.

A red headed Barbie. Naked, face down, discarded. One foot missing, the other laying nearby with a dainty ankle still attached. Her arms stretched out behind her, as if ready to launch into superman flight. Intention unfulfilled, she remained still. I thought; this is me. Cold to the bone, exposed, hopeless, escape improbable. Every year, Break Up repeats. Then this year it came with Covid-19.

After a lifetime of dread for the sloppy, dingy, pre-Spring melt that prevents activity and trashes beauty, I have drastically altered my view. Next April, when I am allowed to meet friends, chat, write, knit; passing time in a comfy chair in a local coffee shop, hands warmed by my latte that someone else made, I will remember this year, and count my blessings. Please, just give me another slushy April with the freedom to gather, and I promise to appreciate my cup, half full.

Lesley Hammer lives and writes in Anchorage.

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