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This Is the Life: Beginning with a Line from The Seagull

Cate Peebles

We’re parting and perhaps we’ll never meet again. Please
accept this small token to remember me by. Being beautiful
just made things worse for poor Nina. You only
think you want to be the ingénue with your white
bone-licked china everything. She asked for it. Asked
for all of it without getting what it would feel like to get
it, and then what comes after, because there’s always
after— even once the curtain is sewn into new curtains
for a different window, they are still curtains, though they
frame a blizzard now, not a stage. Every time she enters, I
think: This time she will do things differently. She will love
the loving man, she will stay by the fire. But no. She exits the
same way again. It’s so easy to want badly; so hard to know where
to hang the sandpiper once it’s been shot, stuffed, and handed over.

Cate Peebles

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