I wake to icy rain against the roof and a pounding heart, a clock reading 3 on the dot, a panic.
The only legs I trust for standing are the logical ones, so it's with these I chase my racing heart, calling out a hundred reasons not to worry. His shift doesn't even end until three, of course he isn't home yet.
I stay buried beneath the blankets, gaze toggling between closet and clock. My thoughts rebel against the steady silent sway of night, springing madly out of rhythm, revving, lurching, screeching. Night is my dark alley, turning trashcans into monsters, far-fetched fears into imminent danger.
I close my eyes but can't make it back to dreaming. My worry and I, we wait up for hours until he calls back to say he's on his way. I make eggs with extra cheese. Bacon too. The drudge of not enough sleep mixes with the relief of realizing it was only a trashcan. That there are still four darling faces wanting breakfast (if you include the dog). That today is likely to be the most breathtaking kind of ordinary.
It's a fragile happiness when there is so very much to lose. Some nights, I worry it might all be smashed to bits by morning. I've witnessed enough world-crumbling moments in the lives of those I love to know that there's no guarantee. My sleeves have been wet more than once with the tears of the husbandless wife, the fatherless son, the childless mother.
No guarantee. No formula or armor or miracle glue to keep this family in tact, to keep my son sitting on the lap of his father, looking like a mirror image save the gap from his missing tooth, cackling about a dozen different ways to rewrite the chorus to Gangham Style, stroking a pretend chin beard.
All I have is today, this moment. Maybe I'll have more, or maybe my world will crumble before midnight. I suppose in the meantime, I can just be grateful to have a love so deep and a happiness so fragile that sometimes, it keeps me up at night.