Three four panel comics, all rendered in blue and pink tones. The first comic: In the first panel, a hand holds a tomato steady as a knife slices into it. The narration begins: “I think it’s for the best that my life is a little more private now.” In the second panel, a hand holds a bunch of basil, dripping wet from being freshly washed. The narration continues: “That I choose to share joy directly, personally when I can, rather than everything needing to be a public declaration.” In the third panel, several pieces of cut baguette are laid out on a baking sheet. A hand holding a brush adds oil to the top of each one. “I’m working on releasing that phantom weight,” the narration continues, “and trusting those who I care about to know I mean it.” In the fourth panel, a hand holds a spoon with a bruschetta mixture and adds it to the top of a piece of baguette, held by another hand. “My heart hasn’t changed, it’s still on my sleeve. More importantly now, it’s here,” the narration concludes. The second comic: In the first panel, Emily, a short-haired woman with glasses, wearing a Hawaiian shirt with a backpack on–looks up at a large marquee for Bell’s Brewery. In block letters, it reads “WED THE MOUNTAIN GOATS LILLY HIATT.” The building sits in the background. The lyrics to the chorus of the Mountain Goats’ Let Me Bathe In Demonic Light begin: “And there–there I’ll be.” In the second panel, Emily stands in line for the concert, now masked. A few other front of line folks are hanging out, sitting down, as Emily excitedly waves to two people: Vigil and Emmaline. Vigil is taller, with their hair pulled back in a pony tail, wearing thick rectangular glasses and a collared shirt. Emmaline is shorter, with curly hair, cat eye glasses, and a t-shirt. Old friends finally reunited. The lyrics continue: “And who–who’s coming with me?” In the third panel, Emily, Vigil and Emmaline chat excitedly, catching up after not seeing each other for years. The lyrics go on: “To show me my one true face–” In the fourth panel, Emily, Vigil, Emmaline, and a crowd of others stand right up at the barricade in the venue. Emily has her eyes closed, arms resting across the barricade, content, as others around her chat, take pictures, and mill about before the concert begins. The lyrics close out: “When I arrive at my preordained place.” The third comic: In the first panel, Emily sits at a computer in her cubical, mask on, looking off to the side, where two silhouetted figures chat animatedly. Her narration begins: “I wasn’t intending to eavesdrop–” In the second panel, we focus on one of the indistinct silhouetted figures. Emily’s narration begins “But–” before being cut off by a speech bubble from the figure, spittle flying out of their mouth as they talk: “Yeah, I’m not getting boosted again–I’ve had it twice, and I know some people with long COVID or whatever they call it, and it’s not that bad.” In the third panel, we focus back on Emily at her computer, eyebrows furrowed and shoulders shaking slightly. The speech bubble trails from off panel and hangs above her: “You know, I was at a wedding, and one of the guests was a doctor, who was the only person wearing a mask. I went up to him to ask if he was sick, he said no, and we all told him to take the mask off, he was making us uncomfortable–” Emily’s narration breaks in with, “Well–” In the fourth panel, a large speech bubble with the text “IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON” squishes Emily down into the panel. Her rage is visible on her face, and a secondary thought bubble from her shows a smaller version of herself, saying “Do not cuss out the chairman of the board I know you want to but you can’t.” Her narration concludes, “Shame on me, I guess.”

Thanks as always for reading. Steamed Veggies comics will return next week.