Dawn’s trying to help her mom figure out how her laptop works, on the couch. The two of them marvel over how simple it can be when you do it the right way and it’s like the seven wonders of the world with the back button, the windows, keyboard shortcuts, maximizing screens…Dang, who knew it could be so easy?
Minnie the Boston Terrier is wiggling her ass in Ginger’s face like a poorly choreographed porn, no one can find the right end, they’re two drunks tripping over each other, changing positions on the carpet, snorting.
Each time I go to her mom’s house, I hide cans of beer in the basement like a squirrel, then forget where I put them and discover seasonal varieties from the wrong season.
Hours go by fast or slow depending on how you look at it, and now it’s 10 o’clock and we’re still on the laptop, looking through pictures, penetrating the user interface of the Costco photo album checkout…dialogue falls like maple syrup and pools up on the plate, puddles over, sticks.
I have to leave, even if it means getting the kids in the car and up to bed, which isn’t much, but it’s more than I’m up for and still I do it, to make time go forward.
Charlotte goes on and on she wants mom, and Lily is saying I need to do something to get her to shut up and she’s right, but there’s nothing that can be done so I mock her and cry back, “MOMMM….!” but it only makes her cry harder at the impossibility of it, that dad would sink to such depths. I make hissing sounds intended to be affectionate in a way she doesn’t understand, no one does, so I keep doing it, louder.
I sit down in the den and put on Shuffle and take a minute to settle into what it’s like, the ambient glow of the Christmas lights by the front window.
It’s the time of day the cats come out and regard you with great drama and judgment, like gods trapped in someone else’s body, statues.
We fall into the cadence of the clock ticking and the music, and the lights twinkling, and everyone settles down to the bottom of the day and just sags there, like a dew drop about to fall.
You can’t help think what will happen next when you’re content like this and there’s not much more to think about, except what just happened and what might happen next.
Which is what’s funny about people who take pictures or record things, because it’s not the same as the moment you tried to catch, you may get a feather or a feeling of it passing through, but that’s about it.
The irony is that the books hide inside us while we go out chasing butterflies, sifting through fields of clover and ocean beaches, excavating, always looking somewhere else because it’s easier than looking inside. Mine is a cave, learning to see in the dark.