Quartered Grapes

IMG_4648“Oh my God, what was that sound?!” I exclaim
jolting up in bed.

“It’s a car alarm or a thunderstorm or
a neighbor coming home,” my husband did not say.

Because he did not hear anything.
“Go back to sleep, everything is okay,” he tells me.

No, I shake my head,
Something’s wrong, something’s wrong

I un-clutch the blanket of
Tinsley’s that I sleep with,
I leap over the side of the bed,
I tiptoe furiously to my sons’ room,
faster and faster across 3 whole yards I dash!

The boys are sleeping quietly in their beds.

Their stuffed bears are tucked in by their chins
Their blankets are wrapped warmly around their shoulders.
All is well, but I cannot leave.

I cannot be certain they are okay.

I lean over James, and count his breaths
First to ten and then to twenty and then until I lose count completely.

I move over to sit beside Charlie,
and watch his chest rise and fall
again and again and again and again.

I am here for awhile.

I finally will myself into another room
But it is not safe to sleep yet.

Not until I know they are alright.

I make a list of what needs to be done:
The grapes I bought should be quartered
The lollipops should be tossed
The bathtub should have a non-slip mat
The knives should be pointed down in the dishwasher
The toy bin should have a finger pinch guard
The medicine cabinet should be moved to a safe
The window car lock should be checked
The buttons on their clothes should be re-sewn on

And she should be here

But she is not.

I return to my sons’ room
And start counting their breaths
again.

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