The oddest thing just happened. I’m working on a poem just now, a narrative of a Kenyan folk tale I found last year. I had struggled with it for weeks – or more accurately, I had avoided sitting down to it for weeks – and then somehow tonight, things started to come fairly freely. Suddenly there was progress, and a poem was filling up space and time.
So I kept working. It’s several verses longer now, and the meter has changed. And I just kept going, and now it’s past my bedtime. This is a common occurrence: somehow I have some of my most satisfying ideas when I’m close to keeling over, when I’m drunk from lack of sleep. I’ve nodded off in front of a poem enough times that I think my nose may be flattening, just a bit.
So. This thing that happened. I decided enough was enough, and it was time to brush my teeth. So I got up from my desk and started toward the bathroom.
Here’s the layout of my place: as I sit at my desk, with my back to the street-facing windows, I look directly into my kitchen. The apartment is sortof T-shaped. So to the left of the kitchen is my son’s room, and to the right is my daughter’s. The bathroom, where I was headed, is off the kitchen, by my daughter’s room. Got that?
There’s this feeling, when it’s really late and the kids are both sound, sound, sound asleep, that I don’t want to wake them, but virtually nothing I do would ever have any effect anyway. They pretty much sleep like stones. So there’s just this feeling, a notion of their presence, as I make my way through the kitchen, by both their rooms, toward the bathroom. Just a notion, a familiarity with the idea of their being there, a comfort of maybe a sleeping aura spreading out into the rest of the apartment, so I pass through it as I maneuver by the table and then the stove. Or something.
It’s just a little thing. I got up from my desk, started through the kitchen, and felt it, and was comforted by it, as usual, as always. It’s just that… they’re not here. They’re with their mother.
The thing is, it was so very comforting, you know?