Who cares about dreaming? I just want to sleep! But my failure seems in direct proportion to the energy that I pour into the task.
That’s right, lol – I said “task.”
I begin each night with an hour of “The Golden Girls”. Silly, I know, but I love these ladies, and they never do anything gruesome that will follow me into dreamland. We can’t say that for “Cold Case”, right? Learned that the hard way.
By midnight , the girls have had the last laugh, and it’s down to business, television off, alarm set, fan on high. If I get serious about this, I can catch four hours before wake-up time.
Two pillows, three blankets, socks – I am comfortable on my right side, yes. Good. Alas, the mind is not comfortable, and so it begins . . . What was the balance in my checking account this morning? I gave Johnny the debit card and told him he could get gas, did I bounce? Aaargh, please no.
My little nocturnal voice demands an accounting. How I can be working sixty hours a week and worrying about a bounce? I don’t know, pestiferous one, go to sleep.
But my shoulder hurts, turn over.
No, you’re fine.
All right, it’s nice here on my back, even though if I drop off, I’ll snore and wake myself up.
Only twenty-eight carbs today, that’s not bad. I should be losing weight, wonder why I’m not. I’ll be the only woman in history to do the Atkins for three months and not lose an ounce. Sue the assholes.
Hush up, go to sleep.
Maybe if I count. Deep breaths, count of three. But that’s more a hypnotic state than actually sleep, and that’s kind of weird, isn’t it?
What was that! Is there a wild animal in the room? Oh wow, that was me snoring.
Turn over. I can’t believe I was asleep and didn’t know it.
Only one o’clock ? Okay, three hours, then. I can do this. Except my feet are hot. Take the socks off, who wears socks to bed?
But I’m tiiiiiiireeed!
Take them off!
Fine, but now I’m going to lay on my stomach and I don’t need two pillows for that. Throw one on the floor and shut up, go to sleep.
THE ELECTRIC BILL! What? I paid that, didn’t I? No, that’s right, the laptop shut off in the middle of that, and then we got a call, and I never got back to it.
The call was a nightmare. Why do the biggest people always call 911 from the upstairs bedroom? I hate it that we couldn’t get the cot straps around him, maybe we should get a bariatric cot. Right, when pigs fly.
Where on earth did that phrase come from?
Well, pigs do race. Northern Ireland hosts pig races every year. How do I know that?
I used to drink a lot on Saint Patrick’s Day, but not anymore. Really, not ever, because it hurts my esophagus. Should maybe get that checked.
When I get insurance. Or Obamacare. I didn’t like Barack until the Osama victory, and then I loved him for the look of quiet triumph on his face.
He looks like a camel. Shit, is that racist? No, it’s just creative license.
Well, that’s all right then.
I don’t mind at all that my sweetie snores. It seems kind of sweet. But I do hate the long pauses in between.
Is he still alive? Hush up, don’t listen to it.
Despise laying on my stomach, hurts my back.
Writing a blog is harder than I thought it would be. Light and chatty, not quite my style. The pen name is kind of fun, though.
Hell, kind of goofy.
You, little voice, are kind of goofy. Just sayin’.
Oh wow, is that the alarm? I was asleep!! What was that, maybe two hours, off and on? Pfft! I’m good to go.
Any suggestions on how to turn off your brain and sleep? I'm drawing a blank, but while you're here, let me give you a section from the novel I am currently working on. If I titled chapters, I would call this one “Delilah’s Rescue”
The bungalow in Brighton Park looked familiar – a fact that nagged at the back of Rush’s mind until he remembered that DTF had broken up a meth lab at that address the year before. The property seemed even shabbier now, diminished in a way that he could not quite finger until he realized that the corner street light was out, leaving half a block in darkness. The little house cringed in the resultant shadows, made ugly by a splintered and broken space in the porch railing, an upstairs window that was patched with corrugated cardboard.
An overturned garbage can spilled its contents onto the sidewalk – dented spaghettios cans and broken beer bottles, coffee grounds; Rush kicked at the mess in passing.
“What the hell?” he said to Bobby.
Bobby squinted, lifting his chin to look at the house number and shaking his head once. “It’s the right address,” he said.
“Jesus, what’d she get into this time?”
“Go easy here, Bud.”
Not an unwarranted request. Delilah’s call – channeled through Bobby and long overdue – had eased tensions, but Rush was still strung out, tired of being played with and more than a little angry. “God, she was here all this time?”
“Boyfriend, she said.” Bobby had stepped back from the porch a little, and was scanning the sagging windows of the dark and shuttered house. “Probably told Meiko she was with you.”
Rush made an impatient fist and shook the door with the force of his frustration.
“Go slow here, bud,” Bobby cautioned again. The insouciance in his blue eyes, bright behind their spectacles, made his words a lie; Bobby could rumble with the best of them, and enjoyed it more than most.
“Nobody fucking home?” Rush’s voice registered somewhere between disbelief and fury. He produced a bump key from his pocket, rattled the doorknob and shouldered his way in. Stopped for a moment in the unfamiliar darkness. “Chupie?” The fond nickname slipped unwittingly past his lips, and seemed ludicrous in the angry tenor of his voice.
Bobby flipped the wall switch, bathing the room with an unforgiving fluorescence that highlighted the worn spots in the carpet and the water rings on the coffee table. A Styrofoam take-out box shared floor space with video games and koozies; the couch was littered with laundry and crocheted pillows that had faded from lilac to gray.
Rush blew a sigh past his lips, tenting his brows and fingering the roach clip that lay discarded in an ashtray. “Beautiful,” he murmured without inflection, and Bobby shot him a quick, assessing look. “My daughter has found good people. Wanna bust him, Bob O? We got dope here.”
“Nope,” Bobby was firm. “Not tonight, okay? Just find Delilah and go.”
“Daddy?” She appeared, as though on cue, in the narrow hallway that exited the living room, long black hair tousled, coarse and curly; she spoke in a raspy whisper, and fluttered anxious fingertips over the enormous hickey on her throat. “I texted you not to come. I’m okay now.”
“What the fuck, Delilah? What are you doing here?” Rush was unable to check the fury in his voice. He drew a deep breath as his daughter made shushing motions at him, and hurried away to close a bedroom door. “Who the hell is in there?”
She stood before him, tiny and unafraid, in a baby tee and white cotton panties – not shy, not his daughter – and she had the gall to look exasperated, as though their arrival had inconvenienced her. “Look, I don’t need you here now,” she said. “Mom knows about him and she’s okay with it.”
Rush lit a cigarette to keep his hands busy.
“I tried to text you back,” Delilah said again.
“Get dressed, Chupie,” Bobby advised. His voice was root beer schnapps, smooth and sweet and taking charge. “Go.”
“I’m not going with you.”
“It was just a bad night, I was off my meds.”
Rush advanced a step toward her, and Delilah drew back, hunching her shoulders away from him.
“I’m all right, Daddy!” she complained. “Quit looking at me like that.”
“Like what? Like you’ve got a busted lip?” He ground his cigarette into the carpet with his boot heel and closed the space between them before she could pull away, grasping her chin. “That’s ugly, baby. Who hurt you?”
“Go away! I don’t want you here!” Delilah made a swatting motion at him, but he held her firm, turning her face toward the light and whistling low, between his teeth.
A spectacular bruise bloomed beneath a dusting of Cover Girl on her left cheek; Rush wet a finger with his tongue and swiped at it, revealing hues of purple and blue.
Bobby saw, and caught his breath. “Easy, Johnny.”
“He didn’t mean to!” Delilah squirmed away from him. “He couldn’t help it, I made him!”
Rush pushed wordlessly past her into the bedroom, and had broken the nose of the man in the bed before Bobby found the light switch.
Easter is upon us!
It’s never been my favorite – or so I tell myself each year; I am geared more to the sticky exuberance of Halloween – but then the actual day arrives and I am blindsided by its sheer beauty. Early morning eggshell sky, scent of new grass and wet earth, hallelujah hymns vibrating stained glass windows. Joyful, joyful noise and color and . . . well, Easter. It has its appeal.
This year, I began early in Lent a project that would keep me busy throughout much of the season. I wanted to write about the miracle story of Lazarus. Too often, his story feels to me as though it is overlooked, that glorious shout “Come forth” boiled down to something that sounds a lot more like “blah.” It’s unfortunate, I think, that so often the reader of the scripture is merely going through the motions, and the listeners are asleep - but that’s a story for another day.
My initial attempt went south rather quickly, and I found myself mired in the small details that are the backbone of any properly told tale. Landscape, language, wildlife – all alien to me. The story, I realized, might best be told in our time, and from the perspective of someone who needed to hear it as badly as myself.
My characters John Rush and Padre Paul won’t be strangers to anyone who has dabbled in my writing, but if you are new, this will hopefully work as an introduction to them, as well as to my writing style. And so, without further ado, I give you my short, “Come Forth.” I hope you love it!
Importing my blog onto the new website has been quite the feat. My team and I are still in the process of categorizing and fine-tuning the years of posts you'll find here. We hope you enjoy our work-in-progress library. Check back soon for updates!