I didn’t feel anxious when I woke up this morning. Not when I came downstairs in my sweats to turn up the heat, or when I turned on the coffee machine. I didn’t feel anxious when I defrosted blueberry pancakes and waffles for the sprouts, or when I went upstairs to cut Abigail out of her duct tape diaper. There wasn’t a hint of anxiety when I read to them about Oliva and the missing toy, or when we read from my own childhood book, the one I’d saved, Dooly and the Snortsnoot. There were no jittery feelings as I wiped noses, theirs or mine, when we sorted toys and put on Chapstick. Everyone’s sleeping. And now alone, in my living room with the sounds of a bedtime CD I once got at a baby shower piped in through their bedroom monitor, I’m feeling an ache.
I don’t leave this couch lately. I almost wrote "sofa," but sadly, it’s really a couch. A middle America, beat-to-shit couch. Our tree looks nice and makes me happy. It’s warm and sweet and reminds me of home. I of course know they exist, but it’s hard to imagine that "bad people" have decorated trees with gingerbread men drawings hanging on the fridge. I once met a guy at a cafe who, that very night, called to ask me over to watch a movie. "That’s not a date," I said. "Come on. Don’t be so rigid." The word "rigid" made me think of "frigid," which made me feel the need to prove something. "No," I said, "I’m not coming to your apartment. I don’t even know you." He responded with one of the most brilliant lines I’ve ever heard: "Come on Klein, nothing bad’s going to happen. I’m Jewish, and I went to sleepaway camp. What more do you need to know?" I think I weighed more than he did, so I wasn’t afraid that he’d physically out-power me. Just the same, I didn’t go to his apartment. I wonder if there are other simple "tells" where you just know you can trust someone. Not fool-proof trust, but "go-to" trust. Like, you’re going to trust a female pre-school teacher.
I can feel my teeth, all woolly. Mostly I feel hungover, as if I’m single, in my New York apartment, detesting the idea of Sunday. The obligation of it– even on the day of rest. It used to feel like I had to on Sundays. Quarters for laundry, more detergent, a new bra, something cultural. I felt obligated to take advantage of the city, to look up "goings on about town" and to not just circle them, but to actually do them, take a subway to a random parade. I spent a lot of moments alone with my camera, ushering off to off off broadway productions. I forced myself out, to get out of my head. But here, there’s no forcing. I sit on the sad couch and complain that my KNEES HURT because I’ve been sitting cross-legged for too many days. I feel like I should be grabbing a scarf and wedging my way into heeled boots, heading to a crowded corner diner for hangover eggs, well-done fries instead of hash browns, strong coffee, and warm, tired, so what do you want to do today conversation. But when I had those moments, mostly, I wasn’t savoring them. I would eat my eggs thinking, "this is probably torture for him. I bet he can’t wait to go home and run his own errands." And I hated that, the separation of his and hers, separate, healthy, different to-do lists. HATED that. It made me feel lonlier than being alone ever did. I don’t do things half-way.
Anyone who wasn’t willing to be all or nothing with me got nothing. I don’t know that I’m all that different these days. I understand, intellectually, a place for our own space, our own private moments, but emotionally, I don’t believe in the distance and want everything to be ours. But then we get down to practical matters, and I don’t want to compromise. So there you have it. My Sunday contradiction of a life.