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the list

It was a simple request, but it took me months to solve it. Soon we will have guests in the house for V's birthday, and the cascading piles of notes and camera parts, the lopsided villages of books, the forgotten bowls of loose change - they all had to find homes. I even bought a collection of clear, stackable boxes just after Christmas, but they sat like empty open mouths gathering bits of fluff and dust in them until today. With little flakes of fresh snow dancing against the windows, I began at one end of the room.

The problem with cleaning is that you constantly find lost treasures, windows into your past lives. Here, a set of notes from a film I was writing some seven years ago. Here, the warranty for a watch I bought for N (that I still need to register). And next, a Soviet ruble that I bought in Tbilisi at the dry bridge market, the location of the lost wonders of the world. Next to a broken saxophone and an old rug, I remember noticing a handful of old coins that I bought…

a fever

She is weak, hardly strong enough to make it to the bathroom to pee. She looks so tiny now, a stray leaf than can be flipped around the apartment by the smallest draft. The fever does not pass quickly. I sleep in the big chair next to her bed, waking every two hours to check her temperature. It rises and falls, some sort of overheated ocean inside her.

E accepts spoonfuls of purple medicine, small glasses of cool water.
She is bored.

N is sick too, quarantined in her mother's apartment. We speak at random hours, her voice rough and quiet, barely more than a whisper at times. 

It will be a full week that I do not see her, falling asleep alone in bed, waking up to check on E, to place a cool wet towel on her forehead. 

The days merge into shifts of trying to stay awake and entertaining E.  The fever has a hold on her, deep in her veins. We watch a lot of films together, in the middle of the day. She falls asleep halfway through them, her face pressed against my arm. I leave her there to go wash dishes, maybe boil some potatoes. 

I don't know what to do besides that.

It is all lost time. A forced breath.


liv said…
Oh, my gosh. A sick child wrenches the heart right out of you. So vulnerable. They seem even smaller when they're sick, don't they? Fragile little birds. But nothing heals like the attentive love of a good parent.
Thinking of you as you tend her. Sending hopes that recovery is just around the corner for E and N as well.
Take good care of yourself. You are such an important cog in this little machine called "Marco's Universe"...good care.
Banker Chick said…
I hope they are both better now. Sick kids break my heart.

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