How to have a Sunday

It starts with sleeping late, only not too late, or you’ll miss out. Wait until you hear tires crunching on the driveway’s crackled pavement to hop in the shower. Be quick; the hot water only lasts so long, and your father will be back any minute now.

Go into the kitchen. By now your father is waiting there with the Sunday paper, a box of Entenmann’s donuts, and real coffee in a paper cup. He had to go all the way to Trumbull to get it, a ten-minute drive. The donuts are a treat, but not a surprise. You like plain and powdered; your brother likes cinnamon. With four of each, everyone gets what they want. You can even have two.

Make yourself a cup of coffee: two tablespoons of Taster’s Choice, a spoonful of sugar, and blend with milk until the color matches your skin. Someday you’ll learn what real coffee is; for now, just feel grown-up.

Snag the comics and the Parade magazine, quick, before your brother finishes his donuts. He can start with the sports page instead. You don’t know what your Dad reads, so hand him the rest of the paper: the news, the classifieds, the obituaries, and all those circulars. He’ll sort through them, recycle the stuff no-one wants. He’ll save the coupons for your mother.

If it’s cold, spread the paper out on the living room carpet. Lie on your belly, kick your feet up. Try not to touch the paper; you hate the feel of newsprint on your hands. But if it’s warm and the morning is bright, take the paper out to table on the back deck. That’s the best way.

Break your powdered donut in half and in half again. Take small bites, tapping the excess sugar onto your plate. Repeat with the plain donut, using the broken ends to blot up the white powder, and when the donuts are gone, lick your finger and use that instead. Leave no crumb behind.

Sip your grown-up coffee; listen to the birds and the wind in the trees. Let the sun dry your hair. Hand the comics to your father when you’re done reading.


Rendezvous

Seven hours ago I walked with you in the moonlight. We dallied until only a handful of stars were left: the last vestiges of night. Now the sky is pink and waiting; morning holds its breath.

Seven hours is not enough to make up for all the lost years.


Monsters and what they teach us

When I was nine I was afraid of ghosts. Monsters. E.T. I slept with my hands tucked firmly inside the edges of my mattress and with my closet door shut. I was afraid of the shadows cast by moonlight on my closet door: Mother Mary come to judge me in the night. Continue reading

Pride goeth

Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that causes a crash. In this case, it was a bug. It hit me in the eye, I braked – hard – with one hand, and flew ass-over-teakettle into the street.

“I’m fine,” I told the man who helped me up. My knee was scraped raw, my helmet cracked. I could feel my elbow swelling as I heaved the bike back up. (Later, I would need an MRI.)

“I’m fine,” I said when I wheeled into work, because of course I went to work. A crash doesn’t mean I can slow down. I have to be fine.


‘Til death

My mother doesn’t believe me. How I see you at night in that instant before my eyes adjust to the dark. I didn’t open the window. I didn’t move that chair.

“Don’t leave me,” I had begged, graveside. It is just like you, you bastard, to listen this time.