give, take


1. I took this photo last year, in a bookstore that was anything but busy. I was the only person browsing through the shelves, so when I brought out my camera and pressed the shutter, the girl behind the counter managed to stop me after only one click. "No pictures," she said with an apologetic smile. Still: I had already taken it, and I wondered how much of life worked that way——things that were too late to give back, things you couldn't quite return. 
2. Last week I had my wisdom tooth (painfully, brutally, bloodily) extracted. After the anesthesia had worn off, my mom cooked congee with fish, chicken and squash; my dad heated water for my warm compress and fed me coconut lychee sherbet; my little brother knocked on my bedroom door with a jug of ice chips and asked if I was okay. In my head I made a list of Things I Have Been Given, put family at the very top, and felt that despite the discomfort and the strange stitches in my mouth, everything was in fact more than all right.
3. "My love is yours. You don't need permission to take it," I wrote once. It was a poem I re-read recently, one day when the words suddenly seemed fitting. It ends with, "You are better now. Don't fumble."