You’re Allowed to Be Sad

By De Elizabeth

I went for a drive the other day without an actual destination. It was a 25-minute car ride, taking loops through familiar streets, passing deserted parking lots, dark windows, empty playgrounds. My toddler sat in her car seat behind me, every once in a while asking: Where are we going? Every time I’d answer, Just for a drive.

Towards the end of the trip, we passed an ice cream shop we’ve been to a couple of times. Like many other establishments right now, it was closed, windows shuttered, without its usual inviting neon signs. I found myself thinking back to last summer, sitting on those wooden steps, choosing not to care that my 2-year-old was getting ice cream all over her face and clothes. I took a picture of her chocolate-stained cheeks and hands; a printed copy is taped into her baby memory book, a snapshot of Before All Of This.

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