I say how are you, you say I am fine, and then we talk about something easier to talk about than how you are, which is not fine, because I’m fine means I don’t want to talk or I don’t know how, but I’m not fine, no one is ever fine. Fine is what you pay when your library book is overdue, fine is that china sitting in your dusty old cabinet, but fine is not your feeling, fine is not your state of being, you are not doing fine. Fine is numb, fine is confused, fine is peaceful, fine is frustrated. Fine is a leaky sadness that drips like an IV into the back of your throat, fine is the well of anger you cannot draw out, fine is the dissonance between what your head knows and what your heart wants, fine is the thumbtack of guilt that is lodged in your ribcage, fine is the stifling tension of clinging onto what you can’t let go, fine is the cold spell of disappointment in misplaced affections, unrequited loves, fine is swallowing an orchard of tragedies, swollen like grapefruits, fine is the over and over again, the sweet terror of compulsive relief. There are so many ways to tell me who you are and how your spirit moves, but fine is not one of them. You are not fine.