I hovered over the kitchen island, waiting for you to finish up your makeshift meal of leftover steak served on paper plates. Wheels of burrata cheese, floating on tomato islands, striped with basil ribbons and an olive oil stream. Eat with your fingers. I’m not washing forks.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I was wiped out, running on two hours of sleep from the night before. “I’m exhausted. I want to go to bed,” I said, in an effort to move you along. And there you are, sitting on your knees, between bites, past your bedtime, taking your sweet-ass time, as you rightly should. You stop, put your bite down, wipe your hand with your napkin, tap my hand and say, “Go ahead to bed. I won’t judge.”
I have dramatized none of this. None. This is you, Abigail Ruby, unfiltered, in your natural state. First grade. No urgency on your part to get to bed knowing it’s one hour past your bedtime, just “I won’t judge” if you, a grown woman, decides to go to sleep at 8pm. I won’t judge that you’re telling us to hurry through a meal. That you’re hovering, that you’re encouraging us to eat with our hands. No, no. We all have tough days. It happens to the best of us. Tomorrow is a new day.
And tonight, after I tucked you in and hugged you and said, “My goodness, I love this girl,” you said, “You have no idea.” I’m beginning to suspect that you’re so brilliantly right.