20th Anniversary Issue It’s early evening, already well past dark in Alaska, only a few nights before the winter solstice. I huddle beneath the down comforter on my bed. Although the bedroom door is closed, a thin beam of golden light slips inward from the hallway. I hear my husband and daughter laugh as they arrange holiday decorations in the living room. A pinched nerve in my lower back causes intermittent bursts of pain to surge up my spine. The discomfort is so intense that my stomach aches from bracing against the waves of nausea. Though the cycle is sporadic, it has been going on for hours and I’m exhausted. In between spasms, I seek refuge in a dreamy state of consciousness. For several minutes at a time...
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