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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

burnt toast is the sweetest

E made plans for a few weeks, telling me at random times that there would be a hot cup of coffee waiting for me when I woke up on my birthday. She told me there would be a paper, and a note. She spent a week trying to sew a pillow cover for me from bright orange fabric, the white thread wobbling around, the corners puckered like a strange face. 

On the day, I woke up long before her. N and V had been up for hours. V looked at me, that tiny mouth jumping wide, a squeal jumping from inside her, legs kicking, tiny feet in the air. I thought to go back to sleep after a present like that and maybe have a perfect dream. I made myself a coffee instead, peeking into E's room and saw the pillow dangling from her hand, the needle on the floor. I tugged it loose and rested it on her nightstand. She knows the feeling of falling asleep while making something, I thought to myself, and that is something I am proud of.

The morning unfolded with some quiet moments with N, then changing a diaper, singing little songs to V while dancing in front of the mirror to the Blues Brothers and the Ramones, messages from friends all over the world sending sweet thoughts in more than a handful of languages. I found myself blushing at times, biting the insides of my cheeks.

E did wake up and I found her hunched over in bed, crying.
"I wanted to wake up first." She said, face down.
I laughed a little, trying to break the mood.
"And I fell asleep making the pillow." She added.
"I know you did, and I love it." I said, hand under her chin, raising her face.

A hug, her cheek on my shoulder, and then she asked me to turn the burner on. She made french toast all by herself, and only forgot to put butter in the pan which she did after the fact, eyes rolling, saying "I'll eat the burnt ones" but they were not burnt, they were fine and mine were decorated with blueberries and brown sugar, with a note tucked next to them.

That night, N told me I need to smile more this year as she made a toast at our little table.
"Yes, just like that one." She said, finger jabbing in the air at me as I felt the sides of my face hurt.








Comments

liv said…
Oh, happy, happy birthday !! What is the actual date? I like to hit it on the head next year.

Sounds like this was a perfect one. A happy day for all of us when you were born xx

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