The alarm shrills at 7 a.m., as usual. Feels like it’s still the middle of the night. So I tell myself, five minutes more. I turn on my side and instantly find a wonderfully comfortable position. One that eluded me all night, as I tossed and tossed, prey to some existential anxiety. Or maybe it was the midnight cinnamon bun.
Five minutes later, I push myself up and grab my phone. Damn! It’s 7:22! Longest five minutes in history. I step out of my room and skip and stumble as the cat runs through my legs. I throw a kick that misses. It never connects. The cat is nimble.
Noah’s room is dark. I hear him breathing heavily. Nowhere close to being awake. The cat stares at me significantly, then at Noah, then back at me.
“Sorry, fat cat, feeding you is Noah’s job.”
I head to the kitchen. I remember that yesterday, I bought freshly ground coffee. A good morning already. I put on the pot and bring the plate of muffins to the table. Something stirs in Noah’s room. I look in.
He’s doing jumping jacks and stretches and squats under the impatient gaze of the cat.
Wow! Waking up at almost 10 years old is a whole different thing.
I return to the kitchen to pour him a glass of milk. When I head back, the cat runs through me again at full speed and in full meow.
For good reason. Noah is back in bed. It’s 7:35. We have to be out the door at 8.
“Noah, are you awake?”
He doesn’t respond but I can see the hidden smile. Parents are really good at seeing what’s hidden. So I tickle his bubble butt through the blankets.
He squirms and giggles. He opens his eyes, all pleased. Good way to start a day.
“Good morning, Noah.”
“Oh yeah, like a dead log.” Mangled colloquialisms are one of my kid’s specialties.
“But dad, I had like big dreams.”
So did I, but then I grew up.
The cat jumps up on his bed to within an inch of his nose. A clear request. Noah pets her lazily. Despite her hunger she closes her eyes and twists around. She ends up surfing on her head in total abandon.
“So dad, it’s like this I had a dream that like I woke up and it was like 6:01 and so I fell asleep again then I, uhm, I woke up again and it was again 6:01 and then like it happened again and it was always the same minute. You know? Yeah. And I remember thinking, like in my dream, you know that I could live forever like this. Cool huh?”
The eternal life of a groundhog. What a destiny!
“So then I had another dream that I was walking with you and Melina and Vince and I was feeling really happy. Yeah, and you know the dream could have been, uhm, just that and it would have been great, you know?”
My hand is rubbing his back, his hand is rubbing the cat’s back. I wish some giant hand was rubbing my back.
“I love my cousins. I love you too, dad, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but my cousins like I can’t say it to them everyday, you know?”
“Sure.” Rarity seems to increase value, not just for precious metals.
“But then, dad, in the my dream? I bump my feet against something and it doesn’t hurt or anything but it’s a big box and I have to like unbury it you know?”
I like that. I have met the Unburied: the already dead who just won’t let you be free. Memories of loves, dreams of being, violence never decried, wishes never granted.
“So yeah, then I open the box and it’s like an Aqua Blue Nintendo 3Ds, just like I want, and with 59 games, dad. Imagine. I was like Oh yeah! Oh yeah!”
“And then I was, boom, asleep again and when I woke up it was like in a dream again and it was Halloween. And I had the best costume ever. Cool night, huhn?”
“I feel great, dad.”
“Good dreams will do that to you.”
“Did you have a good night, dad?”
“I dreamt a lot.”
“And like, good dreams?”
“I don’t know. I can’t remember anything about them.”
“Wow! That sucks!”
Forgetting your dreams. Sucks?
“Dad, I remember everything I dream.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Come on, Noah. It’s time for breakfast. The cat is hungry.”