Monday, March 2, 2009

The Worry

It's warm wherever I am in the dream and I am reluctant to leave it, but something is desperate to pull me to the surface. My eyes flutter and the dream is replaced by the dark. The air on my face. The pillows. Everything is cold. I lay there, cheek-deep in my bedding, and try to fathom what it is that has wrenched me from the dreamworld's tangerine hues.

I strain but hear nothing. No shrieks on a nightmare's heels come lunging through the thin plaster walls. No braying cries telling of some secret slithering boogeyman chased away by tears. Just silence. 

The Worry. 

It never goes away. When they were little it was "crib death", but the terror that pumps my veins with adrenaline and fills my mouth with dust is nameless and ancient. It is nothing and everything at the same time. 

I slide out of bed like a cat burglar and the cool air is a phantom's kiss that caresses my neck. My toes knead the berber carpeting as every nerve ending seems to fire at once. A chill gallops and I brace myself. On tiptoes, to her door first. I tilt my head towards the pockmarked wood, covered with posters of bands that look too young to shave. I listen for her. For the soft and smothered sobs that come after reality seeps in.

Nothing.

Down the hall now, towards his room. The light coming through the bathroom window is a yellowing slant of bridegown that falls in a neat rectangle on the frigid tiles and looks as menacing as the dark spot in an x-ray.  I keep walking until I'm at his door. The blue light from the planeterium he uses for a nightlight seeps along the edges of the door jamb. My heart is a kettle drum. I listen for him. 

Nothing.

I stand there listening for a few minutes and suddenly all of their time on this earth is mine to peruse. The memories spread out in all directions like an endless desert hardpan. I remember her swaddled and wide-eyed in the crook of my arm. I remember his laughter as he stands in the laundry basket. I remember the circus and the arguments and the times spent dancing. 

I am alone tonight. They aren't even here. They sleep safely in another house that is no longer mine to watch over. I smile at my own foolishness. 

I fall asleep many hours later. 



13 comments:

Cynthia said...

Aw. That last bit makes me sad. You've pegged the worry in the night. No matter how tired you are it absolutely will not allow you to sleep till you check on them and see them breathing quietly in bed.

My son also has the blue nightlite from the Nat'l Geographic planetarium in his room.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Holy crap. This post is so scary and sweet and sad, and now it's all tangled up in my parenthood phobias. I worry about the worry.

Not sure I would have recognized this blog without the wangs and hobos if not for that late night in your archives...

Vic said...

Okay, I've been there about a thousand times, Kurt. The worry never goes far, it just changes shape over time.
I liked this a lot.

Kurt said...

@Cynthia: It wasn't sad, so much as stupid. I was so relieved, I missed the sad part altogether.

@SMU,K: I full of surprises, like a dog with an unexpressed anal gland. <--poetry.

@Vic: Glad you dug it. I'm past the point of thinking this ever stops and onto the point where I start drinking a lot.

Anna Russell said...

I know this feeling so well. There is nothing on earth that can do that to you except for the love you feel for you kids. And the fear of the EVERYTHING that you have decided is potentially out to hurt them.

I really enjoyed this post, Kurt. Something a bit different from you, but it really works. You had me so drawn in and I don't even have a sarcastic comment.

Kurt said...

@Anna Russell: Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

Char said...

this is the Kurt that I really love...little do they know, this is not different for you but the real you.

I awoke with nightmares too - too much worry is never good.

Kurt said...

@Char: Heh. You've been reading for a long time, my friend. Thank you.

Brandy Rose said...

Ah, this gave me the chills. The hairs on the back of my neck didn't only stand up, they were ready to take off.

Kurt said...

@Brandy: Sorry. Didn't mean to cause a massive neck hair evacuation. :)

Miss Yvonne said...

Wow, wonderful post!

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

I'm late on this one. Actually I prefer to think of it as making a commenting entrance...but damn Sam* that was lovely.

*I really wanted to say damn sam I love a woman that rains (my favorite Ryan Adams song) but it just didnt make sense. And oh my god I think I am ready your blog too much lately I am starting to * things that dont need *ing. Crap.

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

ready your blog or reading 6 in one half a dozen in the other...