Monday morning, the return of Ordinary. Ryan’s first day back at school. I may not get my own winter break, but I did get him, for two weeks worth of moments we don’t usually share. We woke up together on weekdays, and he waited up for me after my closing shifts. I know he is ready to get back to his kids, and I need to get back to my writing, my puzzling over how to make it my Work, as daunting as that is. But this morning, I am right there with all the schoolkids, bitter over the end of the break. I want another morning of blankets on the couch, movies and conversation and shared food.
I put on some mellow gal-with-guitar folk music from Andrea, and load the dishwasher. It clunks and hums its way through the cycles. Water beads on the bare branches in the yard, and the dog stands outside in the rain and whines for reasons I cannot discern. Put water in a saucepan and measure out a cup of grits, set them to boiling. Crawl under the blanket we last occupied together and read Sherman Alexie while the grits thicken in the pot. Projects are waiting for me after breakfast and before my dinner shift, but in the meantime all I want to do is lose myself in story.
I eat grits with soybutter and succanat and soymilk and think about reading out loud, but the baby’s inner ears are still forming and I don’t think it can make out words. It makes sense that it can feel my emotions though, maybe even taste and smell them. This morning, Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven seems like the perfect thing to read to a person who is four inches long and floating in a sea of amniotic fluid, with only the light that manages to filter through my skin and organ walls. I suspect emotion has all sorts of dimensions for this person that I’ve forgotten how to experience. Is sadness a vibration in there? Does storytelling feel like passage over solid ground, or does it come in waves? I think survival and joy might taste like salt. Or does everything taste the same when you’re getting your oxygen and nutrients through the cord? Can you even discern the difference between tasting and being when your entire existence has played out in the same context? What did we think about in those months afloat in the half-quiet half-dark? I try to remember, but if I can, I don’t know how.
I’ve been half-watching for the rain to let up so I can walk to the bank with the dog but Its steady coming down every time I think to look and so I don’t, yet. I look at folklore journals online and try to screw up my courage to submit a piece. Stare at my “freelance editing” website and try to screw up my courage to do something with it. I’m too good at thinking of reasons not too. I wonder what this feels like to the four-inch-long-person. Adrenaline, then quiet, then the bitter taste of doubt? I’d rather these qualities of mine didn’t invade that world, but they most certainly could once it is born. Its good to remember that they might even now.