Tuesday, May 25, 2010

am I doing them a favor?

Sunday morning, at the ass crack of dawn, Lucian woke me up. Now, knowing how fast kids grow up (seems like just yesterday he was sleeping in my hair, only 6 months old) I am usually delighted when they sneak into the room and snooze with me. It's rare these days and I can barely breathe when I think of a time when their voices won't ring and blast through the house. So, at 5:30, he was there. Mind you, I am an insomniac and had just dozed off 3 hours before the wake up.
Clearly I am setting the scene so that you will sympathize with me when I get to the goddamn point of this story. Just remember, sleep deprived, splitting pain in my head, nose and face from a pride-wrecking work accident, and chronic worry about money. This combined with vague amounts of self-pity that I am going it alone, all the time it seems. I'd like to collapse against someone else once in awhile and let them shush me into a deep sleep, maybe take up some of this anguish.
Of course, I would lose the joy, and so, thus, alone it is.
Anyway, in a haze of fatigue I was just about to take my first blessed sip of coffee (after having pounded several Alleve and considering putting the nitro under my tongue because my heart has been insane this week) when Lucian called me into the living room.
"They're stuck." He was near to tears.
"What's stuck, man?"
He handed me his new light up spy goggles and sure enough, against my distinct orders, he had rammed three batteries in, each going the wrong way.
"Goddamnit, Lucian," I hissed. I set the coffee down as if I were parting from a lover at a Paris train station and tried prying the batteries out with my fingers. No go. I got my pocket knife out and began excavating the batteries, the whole while knowing that my coffee was getting cold.
"You know, Mom, you could probably just use your pinkie finger to get those out." Anna began coaching me on my extraction technique. I popped all three batteries out, nearly cutting my thumb off, and then whipped around to face her. She was, of course, still hovered over me giving pointers.
That's when I lost my sh*t.
"Anna, I have been on this planet for 33 effin years. I have cleaned up shit, piss, blood and people for half of those. You get me? I have been stabbed at, shot at and beat up before I even earned the right to drink. I have prayed to the Virgin Mary in the bathroom of a train station an ocean away from here. So, don't worry about a thing, baby, I can handle the goddamn batteries."
You would think that this litany would silence a crowd of 5000. Not here. As I was taking a tepid swig of coffee and trying to calm myself down lest I get into a way-too-dark place for a Sunday, Anna started shooting off questions left and right. Lucian followed suit.
"You were shot at?! When?"
"Who tried to stab you? Were you just a kid?"
"Why did you have to clean up blood? Whose blood was it?"
I just shook my head and waved my hands in surrender, "Don't worry about it. I'll tell you some other time."
That's when Anna dropped the bomb.
"Why were you praying in a bathroom? Were your prayers answered?"
I stopped at that one. Were they answered? Hmm.
"Well, yeah, I just didn't like the answer at the time."
"What was the answer to your prayer?"
"I lived."
"Is that what you prayed for?"
"I guess so, I just didn't know it at the time."
Her eyes got very, very wide.
"Or did you want to die?"
I set the coffee down and put my hands on her face.
"It doesn't matter what I prayed for. I got what I needed."
End of conversation.

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