3:30 a.m. The dog is barking! Wake up!
3:31 a.m. Where? What? Who? Charlie’s woofing like mad at nothing. You whisper, “Shh, Charlie. Shh. Shh. SHHH,” even though this has never, in your five years with Charlie, stopped him from barking. If anything, he seems to consider it some form of cheerleading. But you have to do something, so there it is.
3:33 a.m. Charlie gets himself back under the covers, turns a few times, tucks his cold front paws between your butt-cheeks, and instantly begins snoring. You move the paws out of the way, but you know they’ll be back in a minute. They always come back.
3:35 a.m. You’re still awake.
3:40 a.m. You’re still awake.
3:47 a.m. Is your husband awake? Nope. Did he sleep through the barking? It seems he did.
3:50 a.m. You stare at your husband for a while. He’s still sleeping. You hate him just a little.
4:00 a.m. Don’t be like that. Someday he’ll be gone. Or… you’ll be gone.
4:00:03 a.m. Don’t start thinking about death, you idiot.
4:01 a.m. Death. Cold, inevitable death. Soon—and forever.
4:03 a.m. Well, not soon soon. Sort of soon. Soon in relation to the universe.
4:04 a.m. Really soon in relation to the universe. Jeez--! Holy--!
4:05 a.m. Calm down. Longevity runs in the family. Think of your great-aunt, who lived to be almost 100. Decide you’re going to be just like her, in your Sutton Place apartment, walking to work every day in your little suit and pillbox hat.
4:07 a.m. Of course, you’ll also be alone, getting shorter and shorter as your spine slowly crumbles. You’ll write peculiar letters to your relatives accusing them of not feeding you at last year’s Thanksgiving. “The plates kept getting passed over my head,” you’ll write, in your spidery old-person handwriting. “I thought it bad-mannered to say anything, so I made do with some crackers.”
4:10 a.m. But who’s to say you’d live that long? It would be a privilege to live long enough to get that dotty.
4:11 a.m. Who’s to say you’ll live past tomorrow?
4:15 a.m. Don’t be ridiculous. You’ll live a long, healthy life. Go to sleep.
4:16 a.m. But people do get killed. There are random accidents. It could happen. To you.
4:17 a.m. Take a few minutes to consider, in agonizing detail, the horrific events that could lead to your sudden, unexpected demise.
4:25 a.m. Wow, that was a little too vivid.
4:26 a.m. Feel a little queasy. Are you coming down with something?
4:27 a.m. Decide that your ability to imagine these events so very well can mean only one thing: you’re psychic.
4:28 a.m. Wow. Psychic.
4:29 a.m. Good going, psychic lady. You just premonitioned…premonized…premonitated…foresaw your own doom, and now Henry’s going to grow up without a mother, and he’s going to forget all about you.
4:30 a.m. No! No! AIIIIEEE--
4:35 a.m. –EEEAIIIIIIIGH---
4:45 a.m. hurk hurk hurk hurk
4:50 a.m. sniffle. Sob. Sniffle. Snork. AIIIEEE—
5:00 a.m. This is getting serious, now. You need to sleep. You like to sleep. Find a way to calm down.
5:04 a.m. Okay. Okay. Listen. Decide that your ability to imagine some horrific death only means that you have an active imagination. (Probably.) You can imagine all kinds of things that will never come to pass.
5:05 a.m. Like a foot growing out of the side of Henry’s head.
5:07 a.m. Poor little foot-head! How could those kids taunt him like that?
5:10 a.m. Would it move? Would he put a hat on it, or a sock? Or a sock hat? Or a sock with a hat on it but how could a sock wear a hat and what about when he graduates how will the mortarboard fit and hi there lil foot-head want to try out for soccer zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
3:30 a.m. The dog is barking! Wake up!
Any other idiot might call this post “Pup-py love,” but I won’t, because I’m a different kind of idiot.
There’s this substance that Henry loves more than, well, me: it’s a pecan-pumpkin spread that I smeared on his waffle a few months back in a moment of holiday-induced folly. It’s sugar. That’s all it is—sugar in brownish-spread form. I might as well hand him some sugar packets and go back to bed, let the dog take over for the day. But now he requests it, and let me tell you, there is no way I can say no. He calls it “pup,” and there is nothing more heart-expanding, more warranting of unconditional love and adoration, than when he sees the waffles emerge from the freezer and he looks up at me with those saucer eyes and says, “Pup?” with his cupid-bow lips pursing and that slightly damp aspiration after the last p (take note, linguists!). And when I say yes his face lights up and he performs a joyful high-chair shimmy and claps his dimpled little fingers together and at that moment, if he asked I would slather my face in pup, slap my head down on his tray, and let him gnaw at my cheeks.
(Wait—is that creepy?)
I'm sorry, but the most very special love between our son and I can no longer be denied. Once we all started sleeping in the same bed, I mean -- well, you've seen him naked, you've pinched those little biscuits! Can you blame me for wanting him all to myself?"
I recently walked by a Chinese restaurant that listed, among the specials, two entrees: “Spicy Blast” and “Precious Pot.”
Had my husband been with me, here is the dialogue that would have followed:
Scene: Park Slope. Midday. Alice and Scott walk by a Chinese restaurant. Alice glances at the sign listing the specials and nudges Scott, who reads.
Him: I had some spicy blasts into our precious pot this morning. I think it must have been the Kung Pao from last night.
Me: Hey, every now and then I like a spicy blast into my precious pot, if you know what I’m saying.
They both snicker with glee.