I got up then, it was time to get up, and I made my way down to the den, to write. The clock said 3:20 and it took a good long time to make out whether it said 3:20 or closer to 4. You get older and the eyes go and I can see why old people have clocks with big characters on them, to cut back on the squinting. They have a hard time sleeping, a hard time waking, a hard time living there on the chair, with the TV, watching the clock.
My mom’s on a plane flying back to Germany, crossing over Canada in some abstract way, losing time or gaining time, getting closer to the UK, a dot blinking on the back of a digital screen put there for entertainment, to track your progress.
We sat at the bar in a booth and ordered burgers and beer and looked round at the others, draped in the music and the sketches of real people, just sketches, and thought about us and where we’d be next, and what came before.
When we got home the cleaning people were still in our house so we turned around and went back to the store to load up on milk, eggs, yogurt: killing time, forgetting.
Dawn is in the other room with the dog and a book and the Christmas tree, the kids are quiet in a corner upstairs, and I don’t know where the cats are and don’t care.
I read another short story by TC Boyle, put on my eye mask, woke drooling, looking at the clock, realizing I still had some time. The battery is low, the sky is the same, my mom is closer to landing, and we’re going out.
I wrote a piece about the fog, how the ground releases it and it curls around your neck and gets into your bones, and you can disappear inside it if you’re not careful. But I looked at it and it made me sad and I thought better of it, just put it in the digital drawer with my socks and love letters for someone else to find, later.