Hey, buddy. Turn off your light. Its late. Good night. New slippies, jammies, clean hair, sister breathes softly in her little crib next to your bed. Dragons on the edges of the canyons, coyotes with sharp teeth, bunnies and lizards stay hidden, you do too. Your dreams are scary. So are mine. This is a hard time for all of us. Mommy’s upset, social workers come each week, daddy is gone, lost and removed. Grandpa and I do not let your mommy take you away. We won’t let that happen. She lies to us. Sneaks. She’s not not honest. Not on our team. When you are not proud you cannot hide from yourself. You are still there. So you work to change. Hard hard work. We need help from others. Mommy’s scared. And she’s desperate.
But tonight she finally got to me. She finally did me in. Wiped- I am done. Flat, deflated, run over. Sick with it. Your mommy left her journal with me. Your mommy is mean and clever and rotten. And I can’t believe I fell for it. I looked at the food log to see what she said I fed you. But what I got was a journal she wrote. An unappreciative set of nasty words about me. I didn’t need this. I’m just to done in for this right now. Done in. (although she was venting, spitting mad and had to put that someplace)
Our nights begin at 9 thirty or ten. Bed and deep sleep as soon as the head hits the pillow. Beagle dog (old, can’t hear, pees every few hours) awakens me at 12:57 (sometimes its 12:32 or 12:46) for an out in the yard pee. I lean on the door jamb and wait. He usually returns, except does not return when Grandpa forgets to close the gate, then I wait and wait and finally return to bed but get up again to his scratching at 1:30 am. Then I struggle back to sleep. Awakening at 2:37 for Liza coughing and uncovered. Cover her and listen for dog again. He’s snorfing around his weanie and I throw a pillow. Sleep until 3:35 when beagle awakens snorting and coughing so loudly that I have to tip over the laundry basket that he sleeps in and send him to the livingroom. Ah, sleep again. But the living room door has to stay open or he’ll scratch it until I get up to let him in. He’ll wake up Liza. Or you. Out there Gpa’s computer glows. Liza hums, pulls to a stand to see the light out in the other room. I crawl on my creaky knees to the door and push it until I am flat. Its closed, no light. Georgia sleeps on the bed, but gets up when I do, follows me to the door, thinks I am playing. Whines, oofs, dances her tapping claws on the wooden floor. Liza talks to Georgia. I pull the poor dog upward, yanking her to the bed and push her flat. “Shut the f… up.” I groan. Liza calls to me. I slip back to bed, freeze there and pray for her to be bored in the dark and sleep again. I doze. Then gpa’s awake, reading with a small flashlight. It’s 4: 25. Gawd. I remember I am pissed because he left the gate open. I lost some sleep because of him. I am still losing sleep. He reaches tenderly and I stiffen, rejecting the sweet greeting. Grandpa couldn’t know that I am pissed. Sissy awakens again. Georgia knows, because I kick at her with exhausted spazzy feet. Metro sneezes and Liza stands again. I see her blond hair glowing in a ray of light. “Turn off the light.” I growl. Gpa does. Georgia moans, Ellie drops back into her crib and I roll over. When she awakens at 5:20, I scoop her up really fast. I want you to sleep until 6:30. Its a school day. I kick the dog for his boisterous and vocal stretch and go make coffee. I kiss Liza softly on the head. It seems like the right thing to do. Every night is like this. Every fucking night.