It’s Tuesday, and you know how it goes. I never really slept or truly woke up, but sleep-walked through a series of medicines, demands, and the appointment. Maybe there was a fierce, bright point of awareness when the doctor was listing illnesses and it was the bottom of the 7th with 17 against 17.
I wasn’t dreaming. That’s what woke me: The surreal, the improbables that came together there, cus somewhere else he was coaching his baseball team, and there, with my daughter all glassy eyed, her cheeks flushed pretty from the depth of her unwellness, even there the universe was playing its little game of ‘don’t forget even for a moment’.
I don’t escape love long enough to run. It’s like strictly maintaining focus through eye-contact, but only if some dictatorial angel peeled the lids back and forced my face forward. I’m not unwilling enough to stop staring at the heaving ivory beast, nor inventive enough to do something really stupid, like roll my eyes back into my head and play belligerent. I’d lay there and let her force me to see the truth, even if it came ungentle sometimes, like swallowing sugar that has grown big and scrapes the throat, large crystals burning and smarting with sweet. That’s what this exercise can feel like sometimes.
So there we were, and they turned up the radio. It was an hour after the clinic was supposed to close, because we were the last ‘extra’ appt. squeezed into the day, thank goodness. By then, of course, the whole schedule has gone off the tracks, and we waited an hour or more, calmly, first in one waiting room and another. I had nowhere to be but in those well-rooms emptying out, and my daughter was only a little bit cognizant. I hadn’t medicated the fever since morning, because sometimes the antibiotics only get assigned if you can produce symptoms, and our original appointment was still during the day. Day isn’t so bad. The virus is nocturnal, it thrives on dreams and night air. There must be some chemical in the body that always knows what time it is, cus it can direct the enemy like clock work: Rest now, attack later.
But it was goofy late. And the festivity of a day ending had crept into our doctor and the nurses. They were relaxed and chatting, exclaiming over the baseball game. The channel was set local, and I was surprised to learn it was the high school team who was pulling this crazy miracle on the field; fighting the way grown men forget to fight when the contract becomes stable, when the talent can be proffered to crowds in edible doses.
Seventeen to 17 at the bottom of the seventh. My daughter gulped painfully. The doctor was telling me stuff, and listening to a story like there was endless time and not a whole day under all of our belts already. I’ve always liked him. He’s been the steadiest male in my child’s existence, and in my twenties somewhere I thought I’d like to marry someone like him, but now I know I’ll do one better and take that part, the generous attention part, the kindness that is so endless it never burns out, and find that in the eyes of another. Different colored eyes, but still good.
And she curled into me, and we were awfully alive right then, when the dreaminess of life woke up the dream part of me. Sick like that she is all mine, and I’m eager for her independence, but it’s sweet too, in that burning way to hold a little life against your side while she is administered to- to see in someone’s eyes that despite the odds against, someone else really cares. Bottom of the seventh and I dip down gently to bring her up again, to tilt her vertical as my mind ceaselessly, mechanically remarks on the color of the sky. Simple marker. And then we have our prescription. And all is well, so trying not to hesitate because I am tired and silly, and it is still Tuesday, we walk out of that moment, and home we go.