Night Diary: 11/14/15, New York

From 4:49PM to 3:50AM: Notes collected in the moments of the night.

4:49pm: We’re going back. It’s getting dark. Robin is sitting in his stroller. Jody, I think, is breathing on my chest. I don’t know much about this city, but I call it a home anyway.

We go a block. All around us, the adults look worried it’s dark. All around us, adults look worried we can’t see swings swing.

5:03pm: It’s dark. We’re at the stoop performing our performance. I prop the door with my heel while I pull the stroller up the stoop. I shift my bag with my back while I close the mailbox with my elbow. I charade. I dance, while Robin feels his way up the stone steps with his hands. He finds a rock, cuts his finger, then cries. He sits on a stoop, holds his finger, and cries. It’s dark. Jody breathes.

5:14pm: We’re inside and everything falls to the ground. I smell the trash. I know the dishes. I turn on the radio. Robin’s already touched everything.

6pm: We’re like a circus, just worse and less organized. Robin pushes a scooter backwards into the couch. A book on planes falls down. Robin wants his bike, gets his bike, then doesn’t want his bike anymore. Robin sings. And Jody cries. Jody cries in a circle as his chair spins. In our home at night, Jody rides a ride.

I stop in the minute for a minute. I think: I’m washing a beet. I’m peeling the skin off a beet that Robin won’t eat later. And the skin stains my hands, but I don’t stain anything. I know something.

6:15pm: I wash Robin’s hands. Robin’s already touched everything.

7pm: Robin thinks he’s eating, but Robin doesn’t eat anything. He pushes food to a corner of a boat-shaped plate. He pours water overboard. And on the news, I hear things. Something’s happening. Outside, swings swing.

7:11pm: I’m in the other room folding Jody’s clothes in a line. I line Jody’s folded clothes in a line and then I think, I can control things. I turn on the light in their room and therefore night is not happening.

7:15pm: I wash Robin’s hands. But Robin’s already touched everything.

7:30pm: We’re in the bath and it’s the same. I sit, hunched, and Robin plays. I take a wet cloth and find his face. On his hand, that stoop cut from earlier. On the other, another.

I used to think, when he was born, he wouldn’t bruise. I actually used to think if I watched him good enough he wouldn’t bruise. And now, he cuts his finger on a stoop and cries. It’s getting dark. He’s a boy. He sits on a stoop and cries. And I’m not watching him.

The other day at the park he said something to me. I couldn’t hear him. I saw his mouth move but I wasn’t listening. Good enough. I think. He’s getting away from me.

8:03pm: It’s dark.

8:30pm: Da’s home and we watch TV. For an hour, Da and I pretend we don’t think. Something’s happening.

10:16pm: Jody cries. Jody’s crying. I have a mind. I think. Jody cries. Jody’s crying. He’s crying and crying and crying. I have a mind. I think.

12:30am: Outside, someone shuts a car door. Outside, someone says something.

1:15am: Someone shuts a door. Someone says something.

Robin says something to me. It’s dark. I’m not listening. He’s a boy. He cries. I’m not listening.

3:50am: We’ve been asleep. In one room, someone’s chest moves. In another, another. We are not in sync, but we do breathe. I have something. Robin’s already touched everything.

Posted on Categories The "Sleep" Issue