The Slow-Cooked Sentence

In want of

Rachael Conlin Levy
Photos by Max Levy.

I feel like the sky today. It’s leaden and tired, the clouds soft and cool and heavy as a feather pillow. I want to fall into the sky and sleep for a long time.

All day I wait for the clouds to break open, and about 4:30 p.m. tears splatter the windshield as my daughter and I drive to the grocery store. Inside we buy cans of Italian tomatoes, Satsuma tangerines, chocolate, and a small lemon tart that we eat while watching shoppers dash from their cars and enter the store breathless, brushing rain off their faces. Earlier, I was my own thunderstorm, casting sharp words, papers and stuffed toys about the house, but now I am dull from spent anger and lack of sleep. My 2-year-old is waking five, six, sometimes seven times in the night. I miss my dreams.

Home again.

I pour tomatoes into a pot, add halved onions and butter. The sauce simmers, melting, breaking, collapsing into a velvety sauce, sweet with tomatoes, savory with onion. Forty-five minutes later, a salad is made, pasta cooked, and I scoop out onion and ladle the sauce over noodles. A perfect meal for an imperfect day.

Later still.

The kids watch a movie, my husband returns to his freelance work and I bake the last of the chocolate cookies spiked with peanut butter chips. I sit at our kitchen table and write, but my words sound wooden. I need to sleep uninterrupted by small hands kneading my breasts, small toes digging into my thighs, a small mouth searching, not finding, and so shatters my sleep with dark wails.

I crack the bedroom window, pull the blanket up to my neck and close my eyes. My breath is slow, soft, gray. Outside the wind blows, but there is no sound of rain.

2 responses to “In want of”

  1. mamapease says:

    OMG, do I remember! I feel your pain! Hugs!!

  2. Mindi says:

    I am going to make that sauce too! Hope you get some sleep.

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