as i got older, the night lost some of that. hours spent poring over scores and pounding on pianos until the sun intruded somehow brought an addiction to the negative principles. i needed the things that weren't there.
older still and the night brought fear. funny that it wasn't until i was almost 30 that those dark hours would make me sweat. the panic that followed slowing down. laying in bed. staring at the ceiling. the silence of the room forcing me in on myself.
and then the insomnia.
years of it.
last night for the first time in three months stacky slept like a stone. a magical little pill took away the heaving and she was able to drift off (or drop like a brick depending on the image you prefer). she slept hard. it was lovely to see.
but i couldn't sleep.
there's been some stress lately. a lot of it work related and i don't talk about that stuff here. a good chunk of it is seeing my wife in pure misery most of the time we're together. there's a healthy bit from feeling like i have to rearrange the entire universe before the wee one arrives (irrational, but that doesn't count at 3 a.m.). there's a dash of "woe is me! i have so much to do!" self-pity bullshit. and then there's the impending change.
my life has done backflips in the last 18 months. i'm ready to keep flipping. i know i can do it. i've waited a decade for this opportunity and this life. what if i fuck it up?
i know i'll fuck up. don't get me wrong. people here have read enough about me to know that i am the king of the fuck-ups. big, huge, gnarly mistakes? i've made dozens. but this feels different. my mistakes now affect everyone directly. and when i start to factor in the ripples of fucking up with my child?
my dad's dad was not a nice man. he married my grandmother believing that they couldn't have children (she'd never had a period. ever). he loved her very much and was quite pleased with the idea of his line ending with him. they wound up having 4 children. and he started a temper tantrum that lasted until my grandmother died. he beat his kids. as the oldest, my dad took the brunt of it. it wasn't uncommon for my dad to take lumps from a 2"x4" for not having the garage in perfect order by the time my grandfather arrived home. grandfather went to alaska for years at a time to do what he did best: solve problems.
at the $surname family reunion (the first time my dad and his 3 siblings had been in the same place in over a decade...and in fact the first time that some of us cousins had met) my brother put it bluntly as the assembled cousins ran through the photo archive he'd collected: "$grandfather was an asshole." no one laughed. each of us having grown up with the shadow of grandfather looming over our parents long after his death simply looked at one another and nodded. we were the legacy of a kind of monster. the first generation to even try to sort themselves out, our sires having been too badly damaged in some ways to move forward. they were left adrift in their memories of love, hate and pain. and the patterns...you wouldn't believe the patterns.
my dad is a far cry from his father. he may have spanked me twice in my life. i see now that he was terrified of being his father and laying his hands on us might have taken him to an awful place in his mind. being my dad? it wouldn't be too bad. if i'd had kids 10 years ago, i would be him. but i'm here now. i crossed the bridge that he had to cross after he had started a family. with any luck, and a little help from his example, i might be an improvement over him as he was an improvement over his father.
in the middle of the night her skin is warm and she throws my arm off of her and pushes me toward the edge of the bed. in my heightened state of fear my stomach drops as i read rejection. i see her face in the shallow light, slack and thoroughly unconscious. for now i'm nothing more than a pillow in her way. it comforts me that she's resting. i stare hard at the ceiling fan and try to force it out of focus and with it, the world.
i hear the dog sigh beside the bed. the refrigerator kicks on in the kitchen. a car horn blasts for half a second in the distance. and i sweat. for no good reason at all.
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