Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our Baby

Our Baby

For a while I lived with Frank and Marilyn in a small townhouse on the north side of town. I don’t anymore. They weren’t married yet, and I don’t think they ever planned on getting married. If they ever changed their minds I can’t tell you. The two of them did have a baby, though, just about a year after I moved in with them. Frank was working at a second-hand bookstore downtown. Marilyn worked as a waitress in a locally owned restaurant not far from the bookstore. They got along pretty well for the most part, and probably they didn’t need me to rent their extra room at that time. But I wasn’t doing much at that point. I was working part-time at a thrift shop somewhere on the west side of town. Living with Angela didn’t work out like we both thought it would. When she told me that I had to leave I needed a new place. Frank and Marilyn and I had been friends for a couple years, and they told me that I could rent with them for cheap. So I did. I rented. For a long time it went about as well as it could’ve.

I didn’t see much of Angela after we broke it off. We split in April and I moved in with Frank and Marilyn right afterward. In about October of that same year I ran into Angela while I was walking around downtown. I found out that she was working nights as something like a nurse in a home for people who needed constant care. What she did I never really understood. I knew where the place was and I’d drive by there at nights some of the time when I was done working. Then I drove by for a week straight.

For months I couldn’t build up the courage. But at the start of the next year I found myself going to our old home to wander around and check up on things. Angela worked the same hours on the same five nights of the week. I had seen it when I drove by the place. I knew when she would be gone.

Getting in was easy. I knew how to get in. I’d lived there for months, and I’d known her for longer. There was a window in the back that always had a problem closing. It wasn’t a real nice house. It was good enough, though. The way I saw it, I deserved a chance to see my own home every now and again. Angela and I hadn’t worked out, but it wasn’t over. We just hadn’t worked out yet. Couples that work really just work because they have it. If you don’t have it, then the relationship doesn’t go anywhere. Some people work at the same store and have that. Other people like to eat Thai food three times a week. For some it’s more than that, like having it in a baby. Angela and I just hadn’t found our thing yet, but it was out there somewhere. I would find it.

That’s partly why I started going by the house when she was gone. I wanted to see what she had been doing with herself. There had to be clues around the house that led to the it that I needed. I thought I would find a magazine on biking or a new puppy. Then I would show up on a bike with a dog in the basket by the handlebars. I would dream of it that way. It would be grand. Angela would see it and tell me that she had thought of the same things, and I would tell her that life is full of surprises, right, and wow what a thing.

I didn’t really find much at first, though, so I kept going back. Three or four nights a week I would go while she was at work.

Frank and Marilyn didn’t find out about any of it while I was still going to the old house. They wouldn’t have understood what was going on. Frank and Marilyn had something to go off of. I didn’t have that. Frank told me about their thing one time while we were drinking. This was after they had the baby. Frank still worked during the days, but Marilyn had to start working at nights so that one of them was home with the baby at all times, day and night.

I said, “How is it?”

“How is what?” said Frank.

“How is seeing Marilyn only a few hours a day?”

“You see her a few hours a day,” he said. “Tell me how it is.”

“It’s not too good,” I said.

“Yeah,” said Frank. “It’s really just pretty bad.”

“But you’ve got that baby,” I said. “You’ve got that holding you together.”

That baby was lying on a pile of newspapers gurgling or sleeping or something. The thing just loved doing that.

“Yeah,” said Frank. “We’ve got that.”

He paused.

He said, “It’s hard with some things but other things get better this way. When we see each other we just fuck around all the time. Even when we’re tired from the day, we just fuck around until we have to sleep. Then we just sleep forever. On the weekends too, when we don’t work so much, we just sleep and sleep. The baby too. The baby just sleeps.”

“The baby sleeps like that too?” I said, excited by it.

“Yeah,” said Frank. “It came from us. It sleeps like us. The baby is just a sleeper and it’s ours.”

“Jesus,” I said.

So they had that. They had fucking and sleeping. Angela and I didn’t really have either of those things. We didn’t sleep like Frank said he and Marilyn slept. We didn’t have the kind of falling through stars sleep. We had something harder than that. Frank and Marilyn would sleep like giant mountains. They would grow up out of each other and hold steady and breathe deep down out of their mountain cores. They would float on oceans and dream deep. When I slept with Angela I would feel rugged and wrong. I’m sure she felt the same. And it wasn’t anybody’s fault. It just was what it was. We would wake up in the night and get angry with each other because we woke up in the night. Still it’s an anger that is hard to recover from.

I said, “Angela and I never really slept like that. Ours wasn’t really even sleep, really.”

“It’s hard,” said Frank.

“We just have some other thing,” I said. “Something like sleep that isn’t sleep that is ours.”

“You must,” said Frank. “Sure.”

And the other thing was that Angela and I didn’t fuck around. We just didn’t. Angela liked me to hug her from behind, just wrap my arms around her. I would bury my head in the back of her neck, and she would rub herself for a while. I would do the same. When we were done we would just lie there for a second. Then we would try to sleep but never fall hard enough.

I pretended that it was enough for a long time. I honestly thought it could be our way. It wouldn’t be sex, but it would be our way. I thought it could be, but it wasn’t. I wanted more. I wanted to curl up into each other and be seashells. I wanted to bite her hair and spin around until I was wrapped up nice and good. She never wanted to be curled up shells. I never told Frank about it. He asked me about Angela and me in bed together once. I tried to sound soft and knowledgeable like Frank was.

“You know,” I said. “It’s hard sometimes.”

I imagined Frank was steady because he worked in a bookstore and had stuff to read. He had to be full of words and romance. I thought that I was full of something too. Of what I didn’t really know. It was something. I thought that maybe Frank wasn’t aware that he was full of calm wisdom, like I imagined a horse might be if it could talk. Maybe Frank just had stuff and used it because it was there. But that meant I had something too, and whatever I was using it wasn’t making a big difference. I guess I wasn’t sure of any of it.

He listened to me answer him and seemed to get it.

“Sure,” he said.

That was what I had.


On the first night that I went to Angela’s house to break in, I was nervous without knowing why. I used to accept donations at the thrift store where I worked then. I would stand out back and collect the many things from people who drove up to see me. There were things that I wasn’t supposed to take, though. I mean, if we had too much of something in the store already, or if it was a donation that didn’t fit the season, like skis. But that day I was just taking bags left and right. I didn’t know what I was saying or what I was doing. I seemed to know that I was in for something that night.

I’ll go to Angela’s, I thought. I’ll go and find something there and use it.

I knew I would go. I wanted to. Still I felt rotten and on fire all day long. It wasn’t that I knew I was doing something wrong. I thought I was doing right. It was something else. It was like the nervous feeling before climbing a tree as a kid, because you know you’ll do it, but you aren’t sure how easily you’ll get down again. Once you look down, like once you look back over your life to where you’ve been and what you’ve just done, there’s a chance that you’ll fall, knowing that the fall will be bad and desperate. Or worse yet you’ll just look and know you have no choice but the fall. I think now that that was the feeling I had, the feeling of looking down deep and knowing that you’re high up and far away. You’ve got a hole full of air, or maybe just full of nothing at all, just empty and motionless.

I left work a little early and bought a pack of cigarettes. I hadn’t smoked in a while, but I thought I should go prepared. I smoked one outside of the convenience store where I bought it and felt burned out and good. After going home for a few minutes to make sure that Angela would have enough time to be absolutely gone, I drove there, making sure to park a few blocks away and walk the rest. I didn’t want to raise suspicion.

I had had the window in mind all the while that I was building up my courage to go to the house. It just came to me when I thought about getting inside. I just envisioned it without thinking. There the window was to use.

So I walked around the side of the house to find the window. Sure enough, there it was. The window slid open without problems, even from the outside. I had to grab a flower pot from the other side of the back yard and stand on it to get a good enough grip to climb in, but everything worked out. I was inside the house.

When I was inside I felt odd. For a while I had been back and forth between feeling that the place was mine and Angela’s. Being inside I felt different. I felt like I’d walked back into my parents’ house or something. The house didn’t resemble my home. It was something else. Angela had changed it somehow. Things were dustier, I thought. It didn’t seem fuller, but it did appear to have less space.

I walked along the hardwood floors, holding my hand out to the walls, looked at the photographs of landscapes hanging there. There was just the kitchen, living room, single bedroom, single bathroom, and dining room. I stood in the middle of each of the rooms and turned in circles.

Then I remembered the spot in the bedroom where the floor seemed to dip down into a little pocket. Dust would collect there. It was hard to see, and we didn’t really notice it at first. But when we first cleaned the house the pocket was inescapable. I walked there and took my shoes off. I sat down, then got up again to put my shoes by the front door, thinking that I was stupid for tracking in the house.

Then back to the bedroom to sit down and finger the kind of half-made hole in the floor. I dreamed there, with my hand in the hole. I thought about my entire body roaming around the house and then pooling here in this one spot, just like the dirt and grime and hair. I became part of the waste that collected. Then I became part of the house for Angela to walk on.

I stayed like that for about an hour and then decided to go back home. I got my shoes from the front door and didn’t put them back on until I was outside again. It was dark. I checked to make sure that nobody was watching me. I knew there wouldn’t be anyone watching. No one seemed to watch, or if they did, they didn’t care about what they saw. It was just the act of watching that was important.

I would come back the next night and do the same thing. It was all I had in me for the first couple weeks of going to Angela’s. It took time to build up to more.

It wasn’t until about a month later that I started bringing things from work to Angela’s place. Just little things, really. I would bring a towel and put it in her bathroom closet, under the other towels. Or I would bring a wooden spoon and put it with the other wooden spoons. I put pencils and pens in her desk drawer. They all were little pieces there that could stay hidden but mean something. They became real important.


I guessed that sometimes things get lost for a little while. I was working at the store one day, taking in donations and handing others back out. Angela was rattling around in my head for most of it. After I closed the gates to the donations area, just after lunch, I started throwing the bags of unsellable goods and clothes in the back of the truck. We had a lot of stuff back there that was no damn good. The truck was packed full, until it looked like the back door was just bulging out with stuff. I stood there looking at it dreamily until my boss came out.

“You’re taking that to the dump,” she said.

“Yes, I am,” I said.

“That’s what I said,” she said.

So I opened the gates again and drove the big white truck the few miles outside of town to the dumping area. The truck was big and wild. I felt like a giant bird riding through the stoplights. It was a good feeling.

The dump was beautiful in its own way. Red dirt covered the entire place. Wind blew everything around in circles and seagulls floated stationary in the air, moving their wings only slowly to keep them up against the wind.

There were stations. One for tires and rubber, one for electronics, one for miscellaneous worthless bags of trash. I stopped at each one to unload what I had in the back of the truck. Sometimes while driving and unloading that truck I would feel sorry to see things go. Other times I would relish the task, just a constant draining of energy. I felt sorry for the things this time without knowing exactly why. It was work, so I kept going.

When I got back in the truck, ready to drive back to the shop, I saw that I hadn’t changed my shoes before going outside. They were covered in red dirt. Just covered all over. This wouldn’t do, especially not at Angela’s. Red dirt would give everything away.

Back at the store I parked the truck and heard that an old couple had bought some furniture. People from the store were waiting outside to load the stuff into their van, but apparently the old husband had gone off on his own to get the van and had never come back. They asked me to go look for him.
“Because you don’t have anything else to do,” said my boss.

“You don’t need to tell me,” I said.

“I know that,” she said.

So I went out looking for the guy. I walked around the west side. His van was white, his wife had said, so I looked for that too. I didn’t really find much at first. I wondered if this was what Angela was doing at the home where she worked, just wandering around in circles looking for people. Or maybe that was what the people she took care of did.

There was a shoe store in that area, among the other shops, so I stopped to get some new shoes. I tried to trade my newly red ones in, but the young girl didn’t accept them. She looked so young that I was amazed she worked there. They get younger and younger.

“Do you have boots here?” I asked.

“Is this a shoe store?” she said. “Yes.”

So I went over in the direction she steered me and tried on some boots until I found some that fit. There were so many boots in that place. There were boxes of them, just overflowing with boots. I thought of them being worn and then coming back to me at the thrift shop, where I would take them and put them inside and watch nobody buy them. Then I would take them back outside and put them in the back of the truck until it was full enough to take to the dump, where I would bury those boots under gorgeous red sand.

I felt good, like a real working man, wearing and getting boots. Back at the counter the girl took the boots from me. I mean, she looked real young.

“Just the boots then?” she said.

“Do your parents own the store or something?” I said.

“Just the boots then,” she said.

I wore them out, left my old dirtied shoes hidden under the bench by the boxes of boots. I walked around some more but didn’t find the old man. Maybe he was better off lost. I don’t mean away from his wife. I mean maybe the newness of everything to a senile old man is the best thing in this world. He would be a baby again. He would walk around and watch people pass, then forget them and forget himself just in time to forget being alone on the street. Yes, I thought to myself, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

But when I got back to the store he was there with his wife, who was scolding him in a friendly sort of married way. They got their furniture, the furniture that didn’t really fit into their dirty white van. My boss tied down the back door that opened straight up and then tapped on the side of the van. After a few seconds they drove off with their stuff. And for days, I thought, they would have something to fuss over.

I was jealous, then scornful. Then I got tired and went back inside. That night after work I drove over to the restaurant where Marilyn was working and sat at one of her tables. I ordered a bottle of wine and drank the whole thing. I tried to chat up Marilyn, but she was too busy to get in much conversation. I told her she was beautiful after getting good and drunk off of the wine and meant it in my own little way. She took a swig from my glass and said thanks and gave me my check. I tried to walk to Angela’s but felt bad and ended up falling asleep in the grass of a park nearby. In the middle of the night I woke up and thought about sleeping the rest of the early hours in my car. I went home instead.


One weekend night Frank and Marilyn didn’t have to work. I had the day off too, so we decided we would cook a big dinner to celebrate being alive and well and free for a few hours. I thought it was a good idea, and so did they, but through the afternoon I ended up drinking a few beers and getting sleepy. By dinnertime Frank and Marilyn didn’t want to cook anything at all. Neither did I, so I drove out to get some more beer while Frank drove out to get Chinese food. We took separate cars because we thought it’d be quicker. Marilyn, she stayed home with the baby.

When I got back Frank was still gone. I opened up a beer and sipped from it, let the cool drink move down my neck and chest. I offered one to Marilyn, but she refused.

“The baby,” she said.

“Yeah,” I said. “Sure.”

I tried to sound like Frank but knew that I couldn’t.

Frank got home then and set up the boxes of food. I opened a beer for him, and he took it gladly. On the table was fried rice and chicken, vegetables and egg rolls, soup and sauce. It all smelled just like a dusty old house from long ago. We sat down and talked about how good the food looked, then started eating.

“Where’s the baby?” said Frank. “The baby should come on out here and just hang around with us.”

“The baby’s in the bedroom,” said Marilyn. “The baby,” she said, “is dreaming with the angels.”

“You don’t want to wake a baby,” I added.

“No,” said Marilyn, who laughed. “No, you don’t.”

“You don’t wake our baby,” said Frank. “Our baby is one that doesn’t wake up easily. You got to know how.”

“How’s that?” I said with interest.

“You don’t say a word,” he said. “Talking to our sleeping baby won’t wake it up. That’s not enough. You got to walk over to the baby and touch it on its side. Then touch its head gently, maybe nestle your cheek against the baby’s face.”

Frank paused to sip at some soup. I drank a big drink of my beer and waited impatiently. I didn’t know why, but I was so interested in hearing about how to wake the baby.

“Do you kiss the baby?” I asked.

“You can kiss the baby,” said Marilyn.

She looked at Frank and he looked right back. They stared into each other for a moment and smiled. I drank at my beer, thinking about the baby.

“Can the baby eat Chinese food?” I asked.

“No,” said Frank. “Our baby isn’t ready for Chinese food.”

He said it with such force and stability that I was in awe. He looked at Marilyn again and touched her on her leg. I was pretty sure that I wasn’t supposed to see the touch, but I saw it. I watched it real hard and kept thinking about the baby. I wanted to be able to say “our baby” with Frank and Marilyn. I wanted to be part of it with them. They had it and I didn’t, but I wanted it. I thought about whether they would fool around later, right there in the room with the baby who wouldn’t wake unless touched.

We ate in silence for a little while longer. I got up to get some more beers. The food and drink all went well together. I was getting full, but I never wanted to stop eating and drinking beer with these people.

“I miss Angela,” I said. “It’s hard.”

I looked at Frank.

“It’s hard,” I said again.

“Sure,” he said.

I drank from my beer. He did the same from his.

Marilyn said, “Do you want to watch the baby for us in a few weeks?”

“Sure,” I said, imitating Frank.

I wanted to ask where but felt that I should keep quiet a little longer. Frank looked so wise when he did that quiet sort of thing.

Marilyn kept on, “Frank and I are going to go camping for a weekend here in a few weeks. We thought we could take the baby, but we decided that maybe we should just go out there alone.”

“What’s our baby want to do in the forest?” asked Frank.

“So we thought that you could just stay with the baby for a few days,” said Marilyn. “You would maybe have to take off of work, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind,” I said real quick. “I’ll do it. I’ll watch the baby.”

“Thanks,” said Marilyn.

“Sure,” I said. “Sure, yeah.”

“It’ll be great,” said Frank.

“Real great,” I said. “Yeah.”

That night I stopped by Angela’s for just a few minutes to drop some red sand on her lawn. It was some of the dirt that I’d kept from the last time that I was at the dump with the big white truck. Why I wanted to leave her some dirt I don’t know. Part of me thinks now that I wanted to leave her an inkling of my work, just to let her know how hard I was working and how much I was getting done for the community. I really was doing things, I thought. I was making a difference.

I didn’t even go inside her place this time. Instead I laid myself down near a tree in the backyard and looked at the sky. Buried deep in the darkness up there were bright white stars, ones that you could see and ones that you couldn’t see. They were everywhere. I watched the moon big and white halfway up the sky.

There was a grayish streak in the sky after a while. It wasn’t attached to anything that I could tell. Just a little streak, like the seams of the universe had split. I thought about God for the first time in a long time, thought about him reaching down with a knife and cutting open the world. And for a second I dreamed of all the stars falling through that cut seam and landing on top of everyone on Earth. After all this waiting, we little people would find out for certain if the stars were good to us. We would find out if they burned or soothed. My guess was that they would do a little of both.

I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed. And I stared at the streak until my eyes cracked. The moon was higher then, almost right up straight above me. I knew I had to go home.


I don’t think things now matter like they used to. The weekend came when Frank and Marilyn went camping somewhere south of town. They left me with the baby. Throughout the first day with that baby I didn’t know what to do. We watched television together. I fed it from a bottle while I had myself a beer. Then I thought that I shouldn’t be drinking near a baby. I remembered what Marilyn had said so coolly about the baby and beer. So I had water instead.

I felt vaguely like other people. I felt like Angela taking care of people. I felt like the woman whose husband was lost after buying furniture from our store. I had responsibility somewhere inside of me that was bubbling to the surface finally. I was glad that Frank and Marilyn had gone, even for just a little while.

In the middle of the day the baby fell asleep for a good long nap. I talked to the baby to see if it would wake up, but it didn’t. Frank and Marilyn were right. You needed to either let the baby wake up on its own or you needed to touch the baby a certain way. I let the baby wake up when it was ready.

Then the baby wanted to play. Night was rolling around, and the baby maybe had slept for too long. It just wasn’t tired. Frank and Marilyn never told me what to do in this case. I figured the baby would just go to sleep again when it was ready. That was fine by me.

And then I decided to take the baby with me to Angela’s house for a little while during the nighttime. It would be fine. I needed to go, and I couldn’t leave the baby at home alone. Probably the baby would like an adventure anyway, a car ride out into the world. I didn’t think that the baby got out into the world enough.

I asked the baby.

“Do you want to go to Angela’s, baby?” I said.

The baby gurgled.

“You want to go to Angela’s, don’t you, baby?” I said.

The baby smiled.

“Let’s go, then,” I said. “Yeah.”

So I cleaned the baby up and put it in its little baby-rocker. I got some extra blankets in case we were outside, and I put plenty of water for me and milk for the baby in the car. I even got a bag of apples and a loaf of bread from on top of the refrigerator, just in case. It was a picnic.

I strapped the baby into the front seat of my car and then went around and got in myself. We were ready, the baby and me. We were ready to go out into the world. I looked in my mirrors and then looked at the baby. I looked at my hands. There we all were.

I parked a few blocks away from Angela’s, just as I always did. Carrying the baby was easy, but on the way to the house I was worried about getting the baby into the house through the window. When I got there it turned out that it was too difficult, so I had to go in myself and then come out through the back door to bring in the baby that way. It wasn’t bad. In the dark the baby seemed to think that it was back at home or something, not out in the back yard of some stranger’s green stucco house. I locked the back door behind us and showed the baby around the house.

“This is where I used to live,” I said.

The baby didn’t do anything but lie there in its rocker.

“Baby,” I said, putting down the rocker and looking in. “This is where I lived before I moved in with Frank and Marilyn. They’re your parents. You’re their baby.”

I kept giving the tour to the baby.

“This is where we used to watch TV,” I said. “This is the bathroom, where we showered and brushed our teeth. This is where we cooked and ate. This is where we slept.”

The baby seemed uninterested. But that was okay. In the bedroom I took the baby out of its rocker and put it on the bed. The baby seemed to like this. I leaned over and looked at the dent in the floor. I picked up the baby and showed it the little half-hole. The baby just giggled, so I laid it back down.

I thought of baby things to say.

“Who’s my baby?” I said. “Who is the baby? Where is the baby?”

Eventually the baby turned on its back and looked at the ceiling. I did too. The ceiling was rough and textured, the way a lot of ceilings are. I looked for pictures in the texture of the ceiling, and I imagined that the baby was doing the same. I tried and tried but didn’t see much. I mostly saw clouds there in the ceiling. Maybe a few faces of people I didn’t really recognize fully.

Then I turned to look at the baby and saw that it was asleep. It had just fallen asleep, that perfect little baby. I turned back to the ceiling and imagined the baby crawling around up there, looking down at me, saying here it is and don’t worry.

And after a while, I fell asleep too. I fell into the deep and wonderful sleep that I assume was the sleep Frank and Marilyn had together. The baby and I were one in our sleep and it was grand right then.

I woke up to the front door making noises. I sat up and sleepily listened to the sounds of the door that made me dream of flowers. Then it hit me that someone was home, that it was brighter out than it should’ve been. Sunlight came in through the windows, and all that upset me right at first was that I had woken up to sound. The baby was still asleep, because it needed to be touched. I wanted to be touched awake too.

Angela came into the bedroom and saw us there. She didn’t look happy. I mean, she looked real uncomfortable and then real angry.

“What is this?” she said. “What the hell is this?”

“You don’t have to be quiet,” I said. “The baby won’t wake up.”

“What are you doing here,” she said. “Who is that?”

I paused and thought about Frank and Marilyn for a moment.

“Yeah,” I said, imitating Frank’s best voice. “This is our baby.”


“Our baby,” I said.

“Get out,” she said.

Angela just wasn’t getting it. I had it there for both of us and she wasn’t getting it.

“Angela,” I said. “Angela.”

“There’s nothing for you here,” she said. “Go.”

She grabbed a phone and started dialing numbers.

I supposed she was right. It was day now and it wasn’t the right time for any of it. I turned to the baby and touched it the way that Frank and Marilyn suggested. Eventually the baby just started to wake up. It yawned lazily and rolled around a little bit. In the rocker it kept making pleasant and quiet noises.

As I left, Angela said pretty much nothing. She didn’t need to. Things were still over for now. We just hadn’t found our thing yet. It wouldn’t be over forever. She was on the phone when I was walking out through the front door. I dreamed she was talking to herself about me.

Back in the car I drank some water and ate some bread. I was far, far hungrier than I thought I would be. I thought about what Frank and Marilyn were doing. Probably they were out in the woods somewhere fucking around and sleeping through their lives in the best way. I was jealous of them. I would have to move out.

The baby took some liquid from a bottle and started to doze off again. I started driving north to our townhouse. But as I got closer and closer, I started to think about grand things. I started to dream again. Then I had passed by the intersection that led to the townhouse. Then I was closer to the interstate. Then I was on the interstate, driving up through mountains and through the trees. The baby was it, was all there was. I had seen the way Angela looked at that baby, like it was ours. I wasn’t ready to give that up.

So I drove and drove and drove. I drove to the state line and kept driving. Frank and Marilyn wouldn’t be back for at least another twenty-four hours. I hoped that they would understand. I just needed the baby for a little while longer. Then I would come back and move out and have my it with Angela.

I was somewhere in Illinois when everything started to get dark. The day was ending with a grunt. I was tired. The baby was awake. That was good. We had things to do.

“Don’t worry, baby,” I said. “Things are on their way.”

That night I took a motel room and lay on my back with the baby next to me gurgling and dozing. I looked up at the ceiling and so did the baby. I knew that in the days to come we would all be back in the green stucco house with the hardwood floors. We would curl up in the bedroom and in the living room. We would wash our hands in the bathroom and then cook in the kitchen and eat in the dining room. And then at night we would all collect our thoughts and twist together like dust in the lowest part of the floor. Like tornadoes we would blow around and make things fresh.

Then we would ravage what was left of our silly lonely lives.

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