The immaculate bareness of a garden with its gates closed.
"Please, no quarters," the cashier says. "A lady came in this morning and paid me 56 dollars in quarters."
They dial up the excitement in a game of Twister by trying to put each other in chokeholds.
I keep thinking this is going to be an awkward, painful conversation, made more uncomfortable by the fact that it's over the phone - not face-to-face or by email, which is what I prefer. But it goes well. There are no leaden, sinking silences.
Reaching a private, hard-won milestone that gives me hope.
It hits me that I don't look like anyone in the room. Superficially, I could say I have the same hair color or skin color as most of them. But I couldn't blend in if I tried. One after the other, hair, clothes, gestures, unblemished sameness, and I'm amazed and a little afraid sitting there sticking out.
Colors creep into a brisk, cold landscape. The shades of blue in the reservoir, the green tint to the gray plants by the wayside that hold out for warmer weather.