We’re in the same boat. When I ask them what day it is. What date. No one knows right away. There’s always a kind of hesitation. People look at their watches. Same ol’. That’s what they think. That’s what they say. I need a ticket. Bus fare to somewhere else. Weird cycles, sleep patterns. Things enter into the cranium with the force of a violent spike driven in:
–Yes, I’m here. Livy.
–I’m here. Coming to get you. Where are you, Livy?
–Where are you, love? Livy.
Christ, that’s out of a book. A book I lent to her when she was twenty-three. Graham Swift.
–Where are you Livy? Let me come get you.
It’s a Dog’s Life; Doggy Treadmill
“Downtrodden husbands who have been forced to take Fido for an airing in the park may now breathe a sigh of relief, for the treadmill pictured here will enable the family pet to get all the exercise he needs on the back porch or the front lawn, and if the weather gets too severe, he may do his daily dozen in the kitchen. The contraption (first exhibited at the Los Angeles Dog Show) permits the dog to run for an hour without getting anywhere, and the proud owner may be sure that Fido will not get lost. If a rabbit passes by, the dog has a good run while bunny stands around nibbling clover. A flywheel supplies momentum!”
–Modern Mechanix, 1930
It took forever for her to tell me where she was. And then I went to get her. I drove out to Hagerstown in the middle of the night. Morning, really. There were deer. And chickens. And when I got her, she had vomited all over her shirt.
–Come on love, let’s go.
–Let’s go. Livy.
–I love you from here to the sun…
— … and back.
It’s what we used to say to one another when she was three.
–Let’s go, Livy. I got the car here. Let’s go.
Some example I was. At least she never saw me smoke. I never smoked at the house. Around her. And then, later, when she would visit. When me and the ex split up. Those weekends. My weekends. Ours. I never smoked, so at least there was that. She had asthma, so…
–What will daddy have with his dinner?
Wine. She said that when she was two. And we all laughed. The boys all kidded me and gave me Charlie-horses and thought it was grand. Yeah, grand. Some example.
–Let’s go. Livy. Let’s go, love. I have the car. It’s warm inside.
–Where are we, Dad?
–I don’t know. Out in the country somewhere. You don’t remember?
And she fell asleep like that in the back seat. Nearly standing. Strapped in obtusely. I had no right. No right to lecture or say anything. Fair enough. Fair enough, love.