I’m trying to quit caffeine. I believe that was the cause of my irritability and dysphoria every morning; also the insomnia at night. I reread a few poems by Edgar Allan Poe, and I was right about his sense of the aesthetic. He loved beauty to the exclusion of sense and meaning, just like my mother. Did she learn this attitude from reading him? Or did she just happen to agree with it? I’ll never know. I’ve finished reading all of the tales in my volume. The rest are longer narratives… The sunshine is strident, bright and loud, the blue sky cold and light. I’m sitting here, waiting while the caffeine exits my system. I feel washed out, uninspired and dull. One thing about Poe that puzzles me is his careless allusion to angels and heaven: did he really believe in divine things? He dwelt so much on dark themes that it’s hard to tell. Perhaps to him, the angels were merely beautiful and convenient to evoking feelings of delight and pleasure. That is, the angels connoted nothing moral. So, his references to religious images were only aesthetic and not a statement of faith as such. But what’s wrong with that? What mean critic could smear Poe for being non religious? One might as well slander Michelangelo for painting the Sistine Chapel with such passion and beauty… When I was in second grade, Mom put a great effort into Christmas decorations. She made two angels out of Play Doh and baked them to hardness. She used pink and yellow in particular, and one angel played a flute. Grandma passed away that year, so it was the last Christmas Mom took very seriously, decorating the house in every way possible. After that year, Christmas slumped in our house, until eventually we didn’t decorate at all, and hardly celebrated the holiday. Or maybe it was I who stopped believing… after Mom died. Observing Christmas would be a painful reminder that she was really gone. How could life go on the same way without her? The celebration would be empty and insignificant without my mother… And so I remember Mom as being faithless, because it hurts me too much to keep the Christmas tradition going alone.