Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg


 He said: You have a story to tell. I’m never wrong about these things. You’re the queen, so tell the story of your kingdom.

It’s 2 a.m. and I’m awake on the couch. I’m awake on the couch because my bed is crammed with boys who are too hot and itchy to sleep in their own beds, who mistake my bed for a cool oasis. My bed is not a cool oasis. It’s awful. Everyone in it is breathing hot breath. The largest male is snoring. And I don’t even mind the snoring (16 years–I’m used to it) but the fact that he’s asleep while I’m lying awake drowning in everyone’s hot breath–it’s enraging.

So I abandoned the bed for the cooler couch and a glass of mango smoothy.

And I’ve accomplished a few things. I did yet more searches for flights to Canada and discovered that leaving an hour earlier would shave $100 off each ticket. I emailed the guitar teacher about Luca’s available hours this week. I read this article, and then washed my brain out with this one.

It’s nice here on the couch with the window open and my mango smoothy at my side, but the inside crickets are noisy. Almost as noisy as my husband’s snores. Bill the lizard is a cricket addict and we usually have a dozen or so in queue, and they do not go gentle into that good night. These crickets are raging. Or, at least, trying to mate one last time. You can’t blame a six-legged guy.

And now I hear a series of footfalls coming from upstairs. Someone has awoken to discover my absence.

The next night:

When you are young, sleep is the most boring thing you can imagine and when you are in college, sleep is optional and when you have babies, sleep is currency and when your babies are older, sleep is assumed and when it’s taken away, it’s as if the world has betrayed you with backwards walking and confusing traffic lights.

But I survived. As did the youngest boy, whose footsteps those were last night. I found him cowering in the bathroom, afraid of the dark window. Poor dear. We all went back to bed and again I found myself crammed among the hot-breath boys, but I was too exhausted to care as much. I slept. Morning came. I drank another mango smoothy and it was enough, amazingly, to get me through the day.



2 thoughts on “Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

  1. Oh I love this. Esp what you said about sleep when the kids get older. This week on the Cape we’ve taken a room a whole floor away from them. So far they haven’t come looking for us in the night. Thank goodness. Here’s to a better night of sleep tomorrow!

  2. That is an excellent move on your part. Sigh – one of these years I’m going to manage to be on the Cape the same week you’re there so I can come roll in the sand with your boys and give you a big hug. Not in that order.

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