I’m in the living room, legs crossed in the air, one heel on the sofa’s edge, reading on my laptop. At 9:04am, I lift my eyes to see the children are in motion, both downstairs, a separation from sleep to start. Abigail moves to her makeshift dining room schoolhouse. I ask what they’ll have for breakfast, offering the suggestion of bagels. Lucas thinks it’s a good idea. “You know where they are.” I hear him pull them from the freezer, already sliced. Abigail says she doesn’t like breakfast. I know this, but offer options. “The artichokes, roasted peppers, a mango.” She responds in slow italics. My metabolism is fine. “You should eat something.” I don’t like breakfast. She would eat pizza, I know, but we’re out of store-bought dough. I think today we will bake bread or make our own dough.
Lucas asks if we have butter, then remembers the white ceramic tub we keep on the counter. I hear the drawer, then the smearing, the crunch, the hum of the Breville convection fan, the plunk of the buttered knife into the sink, the draw of the kitchen stool, and that first bite, crispy, with a shower of seeds pittering to the plate. I know his hair is high, his pajamas still warm. He’s thirteen, a drop of milk short of 5’9″, and he keeps Lego miniature figures in his pockets. He spends hours in the basement, no devices, just stories about a multi-verse.
When I ask what he does down there, he stops eating, large quick steps to meet my eyes, a bounce as he explains that over his years he’s created multiple versions of himself, a lineup of mini figures, all representing, “Different versions of me from the multi-verse, you know, a Ninjago version of me, my original mini-figure me, and then there’s the version I made when I thought I lost my original.” He’s the omnipotent god of the universe down there.
It’s 9:53am, and I have a universe to orchestrate, how we’ll orbit through, feeling as if I can live it from here, one heel on the sofa, fingers clicking and cruising, sorting recipes, constructing to-dos, drinking my Americano as I plan our day in meals. Everyone in pajamas, I’m thinking yeasted waffles, soft-boiled eggs with Everything But The Bagel spices.
I’ll do a sketch later, draw “on location” in NYC by visiting Google Maps. I thought of choosing an Ethnic Restaurant, but I can’t think of any, which is absurd. That Turkish restaurant where, when I was a food critic, I got food poisoning. Or Veselka, the Ukranian pierogi place. Sammy’s Romanian, Jewish comfort food in a basement, kreplach, calves livers with fried onions, kishka, shmaltz. Nice Matin, hardly ethnic. Bello, permanently closed. Café Loup, permanently closed. Brandy’s Piano Bar has a big car parked in front, and I’m pretty sure they don’t serve ethnic anything. I could spend an entire day, week even, deciding what’s worthy of a sketch.
Abigail is up, fishing in the pantry for cereal, a breakfast food. I check Facebook, and I’m lost to it for an hour. Now, I’m back, searching for bread recipes, skillet dinners, and through old photographs wondering what I will do with my day. Cook, paint, sketch, read, or write. Drips and drabs of all of it, in my pajamas, two heels on the sofa, laptop on my chest. What happens on Tuesday.