The Store

After I have been downstairs for an hour or so, the boys come down to say goodnight.  My oldest sits on the arm of the couch to talk while my youngest hops on one foot, gesturing wildly with a new drawing.

They have decided to open a store.  I can order items in advance, if I want.  D has crawled into my lap by this point and I joke that I’d like to buy the thing which guards against farts on my knee.

He laughs and keeps talking.  Yes we can order this item, yes it will be ready soon.  While D and I transact business, L is describing his drawing to me.  As he limns out details, his eyes alight on the cover of the book I’m holding in my left hand.

It’s a paperback from several years ago, something on taking your fitness business to the next level.  Right now I would settle for what I remember to be ground zero: nothing but pure, clean work.  Just me and my urge.  And yet, there’s an outsized picture of a brain on the cover and L is transfixed.  He sees the brain and I see his brain work words to mouth: he speaks the title of the book silently and then looks up at me.

My oldest is still talking and my youngest starts hopping again and I pull them closer to me.  Every second I hold that book I’m just sitting there in the easy chair not really living much anymore.  I ought to throw it off the fucking wall.

It’s funny how sometimes it hits you when you’re not expecting it.  My beautiful boys and their wide eyes and yammering mouths, full of wonder and intention.  They have every dream in the world and I’m sitting in an easy chair, chasing one dream like it’s tonic to all that awaits–slings and separation, sickness, old age, the end of things.  I’m sitting in an easy chair, moldering and lying to them with my eyes.  Like maybe if I can just get things right, if I can just figure out how to work a little less, how to fucking moon over things a little less, and maybe love a little more, be a little more fucking present instead of in a fucking haze of self-improvement because nothing is ever fucking good enough, none of my fears will come to pass and I can look at my boys with love and tell them I’m here, and that being here will always be good enough.

I ought to throw the book off the fucking wall and put on the end of The Color of Money, the part where Fast Eddie says “I’m back.”  That’s what I ought to do.  But instead I go upstairs and look at the sign D made for the store.

“For the time of your life,” it says.


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