10 September 2012
Wake up, no Katz's
She wakes me up with three light knocks on the door, then runs back to bed pulling the covers up to her chin. I lay her clothes out on a chair and make coffee. In a choreographed silence she stands, waiting for me to button her shirt. I sip from my red cup, already cold, already spotted with milk like an alligator's skin.
Yes, everything is there in the bag. We go out, her hand tight in mine and then she begins to talk. She tells me the clouds are moving, just very slowly. She tells me that in Paris it rains a lot. She tells me that people who are evil have bad smells coming out of them.
Inside, her teacher studies us, the measured movements, the balancing on one foot as she pulls off boots and slips into Mary Janes. Me, fixing her hair after the red hat comes off, the kiss on the forehead, the nod of her tiny chin.
I am already exhausted, already missing the messy freedom of July.
Sometimes I just want to stick my head out a window and scream for a long time. Sometimes I want to call in sick, and be responsible for nothing.
I want to go home.
I want E to go to Katz's for hotdogs with mustard and kraut on Fridays after school. I want to take her on long walks in Central Park and see the parade of dogs and strollers, of leaves and bicycles and roller skates. I want to go to Coney Island and say goodbye to summer, like I did every September in New York.
She dances at a party, hands in fists, feet high in the air. E stomps and wiggles with a gleeful desperation, with defiance. I twirl her, spin her, throw her up in the air above my head.
Anyone that can dance like that will survive.