Approximately once a week, I’ll post a new bit of writing, either from work-in-progress or from one of my existing pieces. Check back soon!

Everything feels better with Spareribs there to help me feel it. The carpet is almost too rough under my knees and elbows and the side of my face, but not quite. And from up close I can see all its different colors. If we were to stand up it would like a gray carpet, but from here we can see that some of the loops are black and some white, and a few are pink and green and blue, and they sparkle a little where the individual fibers catch the sunlight.

Our backs and bottoms are hot from the afternoon sun through the living room windows, but because the hotness is in stripes from the bamboo window shades, it feels good. The sounds of the household are going on all around us: Fritz’s toenails clicking across the slate floor of the entryway, Mommy putting away dishes in the kitchen, Daddy’s match scratching against the side of the box and the little kissy sound he makes when he sucks on his pipe to get it started. Spareribs and I can smell the smoke, which smells mostly like cigarettes but a little bit like cherries, as it drifts into the living room from the den.

It is when we can feel everything like this that Spareribs and I like to play our favorite game. I climb on top of Spareribs, and he pushes his worn plush back up under my chest and my front-bottom. I move back and forth on him, urging us both forward. Faster and faster we go, pushing toward the moment when we break into a gallop and we can’t breathe and everything else disappears.

“Janna-banana, what are you doing?” We stop and look up at Mommy. She’s way up above us. Her tummy has my baby sister in it, which makes it so big that it’s hard to see her face.

“I’m playing horse with Spareribs.” Why does she care?

“Oh, I see,” she says. When she doesn’t say anything else, we start to play horse some more, but then she talks again.

“You know, honey, horse is kind of a special, private game. You and Spareribs need to play it in your bedroom with the door shut.”

“Why?” I ask.

“Well, it’s private,” she says. “It’s just kind of the rule.”

I get up. My knees hurt from where the carpet has made little dents in them. Spareribs and I go back into our room, me walking and him following me backwards with his nose and ears dragging along the floor, but by the time we get there we don’t feel like playing horse any more. I put him to bed. I get out a book – the Bobbsey Twins, my favorite – and go to sit and read with Daddy.