Saturday, April 19, 2008

Toast Caddy.

Greensboro to Philadelphia to Indianapolis to Bloomington to Charlotte and soon enough on little old Flight 3804 back to Greensboro, a trip I think will probably take slightly longer terminal-to-terminal than the drive would. It's overcast and gusty here in the Queen City, and I presume it's overcast and gusty 80 miles north in 27408, too. Warm. Spring-warm.

It turns out a lot of people have children. Babies and toddlers, specifically. People with babies in all those cities at all those gates in all those airports and on each and every plane I rode. Also my brother has got himself a bouncy hungry baby boy.

It is a damn lot greener back here in NC than out and up there in IN.

Gray and chilly this morning in Bloomington, a thin half-hearted rain coming down. It seemed warm, though, if desperately tired, in my brother's house. They had the baby up on this oversize green pillow, had him on the table between them. They were eating breakfast. Bacon, toast, bananas and strawberries. The baby was quiet, mostly. Still, mostly. He'd been neither of those either of the nights I was up there— they say he's up every 90 minutes if they're lucky, every 45 if they're not. There's not a lot of sleeping going on in 47404. But the two of them looked— they looked good sitting their with their breakfast, with their baby. They looked OK. They didn't have any lights on. They had the Saturday radio on low. They had their toast standing on its ends in a little ceramic toast caddy. They were talking about the price of jelly and jam at the local butcher's. The baby cranked up some, and they looked at each other, and my brother got up, swaddled him back tightly down, got him to still himself. He sat back down. He started back in on his breakfast.

I felt pretty intensely like an intruder, but in a way that was comforting in ways I'll try some other time to explain. I just kept thinking I wanted to say my goodbyes and leave them to tend to their little family. I was sorry, in fact, to see her parents pull up to the curb as I was headed out. It seemed like maybe what they really could have used was one more hour in there with their coffee and their child before anybody else showed up. I don't know what else they could use. In a host of other ways, they probably needed her parents to pull up right then, my parents a half-hour later. They could use some kind of manual, probably. A schematic. They could use two consecutive hours of sleep. They could use somebody telling them something that they actually could believe. Maybe they could use a couple of flights with a couple of layovers. There's a lot of people with babies in here. I bet these people know six or eight things that would be of use.

My brother's dogs looked confused as all hell all weekend. I didn't have one thing I could tell either of them. Sometimes I took them outside and threw the ball a little. Sometimes I put my forehead on their foreheads. They seemed to like that well enough. I wanted really badly to be able to tell them what comes next. That is what I wanted to do. Instead I threw the ball.

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