I started writing this last night before getting distracted. There was a tinny rattle coming from the fire escape outside the bedroom. I lowered the lights and stood by the windowsill for a good while before deciding it was just a low thrum coming from the wind and the metal. I waited another half hour just to be sure.

The cat was on the bed and didn't seem to stir even as I stood there. With the draft and the din of the city, she could have just been oblivious.

My mother came to visit in the morning. She was with two of my cousins, neither of whom I'd told you about. I hadn't seen them since they were kids and I wondered privately how much they remembered of me. I wondered too why my mother brought them with her until they both shook my hand without looking directly at me, the supplicant bowing of their heads when they approached me. I felt like I was acting out a scene so contrived and that only my mother could have foreseen, and I guessed briefly at how much my cousins had been told about me in my absence from how they kept their gazes downward.

We drove up and through the city, one of my cousins driving, me in the passenger side seat. My mother sat behind me and with my other cousin. She did most of the talking as much as I tried to deflect and talk about how much the neighborhood had changed. It's hard to tell how intently someone is looking at you through a sideview mirror.

There isn't much of the rest of the day that I feel the need to recall right now, or maybe I'm just a little tired. When we made it back to my mother's house, we talked much of the day — me and her and the cousins — about my father. It was at least a small comfort to believe that my reluctance to speak could be disguised as grief. Selfishly, I was thinking more of a way to run away again, so that I could return home and write to you and then rest.