The Paper

She doesn’t read the paper anymore. Wrapped in crocheted blankets and clutching a feather pillow, she stares at the dust-covered ceiling fan as the long bundles in yellow plastic congregate on her front walk. Surrounding the bed are piles of old comics sections, from when she still liked the crossword. Now it irritates her, the clues fighting for her attention and the finished result dizzying to look at. Her bed is still full of dull pencils, the erasers worn and black.

She’s been so free since she stopped reading the paper. No more bad news, no more puzzles she feels obligated to do. She no longer has to go outside in her torn nightgown to stumble barefoot down the steps to the wet bag of paper, or wash dead pine needles from her feet once inside. There is no longer ink on her fingers.

Now she has more time, she can do what she wants. She can read other things, books she’s always meant to read, the books that still sit in small green bags, price stickers adorning their covers. She could even write herself; she was told in college she had the knack. So many possibilities, so much time, she thinks as the faded paint on her bedroom wall cracks.

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