Hike up to the big rocks to see our tiny house down there, choose rocks for the new fireplace, move rocks along the garden walk, order a load of rock for the paths. Rock, rock, rocks. I can’t sleep. Rocks for a pillow. Gravel filled chest and eyelids. Dry throat and tongue. The taste of dirt. Get up, make coffee. Mud. I’ll make you some tea when you get up. Before school. later.
Its damp, rainy, cold; thunder and lightning shake the timbers of the house, my timbers shiver. How are they doing down there in the tent? I can see a glimmer of light. They leave the string Christmas bulbs on all the time. How’s our Liza? How can she possibly be okay? You have slept here in our room for the past three nights. Maybe you guys won’t make it through the winter in the tent. Some people could, but not your mom and dad. Not them.
I’d hoped your mommy and daddy would figure something out on their own. But knew they wouldn’t. I had to believe that the tent would hold up. Grandpa and I both did. We talked about each detail. We all hoped. It has been okay until now. But now its November. The little sleeping room we are adding to the back of the cottage house should be done soon. But it’s not yet. You and Liza will sleep here anytime. Maybe all the time and mom and dad have to figure out the tent or leave. But the room’s not done and the rain is here. What do we do now, buddy?
In bed, when I tossed my head to the right, I saw you here with Grandpa and I. Sleeping warmly, but I couldn’t see the daytime. It was a dream. But, I couldn’t see me and grandpa and you and Liza all the time. I lose you. You run to fast and Ellie rolls away and I wake up startling myself. Grandpa is too tired, has to go to work, to planning meetings and must sit and read quietly. Like grandpa and grandmas are supposed to do. Maybe we hire somebody to help all of us. Maybe somebody lives here and helps us and becomes your nanny, your friend. Maybe you still have your mommy and daddy here to play with, visit and…oh, dear. Where do they live?
I toss to the left and think about grandpa and me in the tent instead. Maybe the garage to sleep and the tent for daytime and evening meals. To the right, daddy and mommy in tent, to the left grandpa and grandma in the tent. Then, staring at the ceiling, I see it all crumbling apart. So what’s next? Middle. Right. Left. Maybe Grandpa and I move to another house for a few months. And your family has this one. But where? How do I supervise construction? You supervise them?
Just I get up, I tell myself. Make a new plan. You can figure this out. Its 4 am again. You have to be ready for school in four hours. I guess I can write for a few minutes. I have time. Then I’ll pack your lunch. I should go get Liza. Maybe she’s cold. Too much is hard right now. Maybe I’ll just sit quietly and pet the dogs. Maybe I’ll close my scratchy eyes and think about Thanksgiving dinner. I know if it weren’t for the construction, we’d pack you two up and go someplace warm for a few months. That’s not a bad idea. But I am the manager of the project, the manager. Manager. Ear rocks, spinning head. So just manage, I tell myself.