How do you tell an old dog to go back to sleep
The gracie stories part 10
I was in the midst of REM sleep Bosch dream when I head the click clack of Gracie’s nails on our floor; she must have pushed her way out of her heikhal/cage. I jumped up and helped her down the hallway and down the stairs, outside into the dark (still dark just before dawn I forget what the Talmud calls this part of the night/morning, it is parsed much more carefully than night morning etc., chatzot is more like midnight and according to Nachman it is the most holy time).
She went down gently sloped stairs into the grass and pee’d and I waited and what the heck, filled her bowl outside with water and put some nice doggie kibble in it and realized I was in my underwear having fallen asleep in a fever that way. It was cold last night. While Gracie was on the lawn I went inside and wrapped myself in a blanket on the couch, all this I marked in what I call my mind this way: none of this could happen if I was living in my car. This was not residue from my dream, just the way I think.
When I was toasty and certain I would not return to sleep I went out and retrieved her, brought her back upstairs and with a biscuit returned her to the cage-palace intending for the both of us to return to sleep. It was still deep dark though the birdies were beginning to stir.
Tonight is my Dad’s yahrzeit; 23 years ago he passed away in a hospital in Detroit held by my beloved brother. I couldn’t be there; my daughter had been in the hospital, just released I believe or maybe still in the hospital, I can’t remember now. It’s one of the regrets: I couldn’t be there. It pulls at me.
None of my kids remember my parents too well, they were all little. Another regret and they don’t ask about them that much so I don’t say anything. I wonder if they would be startled if they asked me: how much to do you think of them? Every day. If that would get their attention like it did me when I asked my father the same question.
In some ways, I idealize my parents both their faults and their gifts I am sure. They are like the old Temple for me; they no longer exist except in this grand idealization that was and I return to in dreams; the more I thought about it the more I realized that when I married into another family I received their bundle of crazy which made me long even more for my own bundle of crazy that had passed. Or so I thought.
The more I thought it through the more I know that I carry my own family’s bundle of crazy with me wherever I go; no need to idealize, no need to idealize at all I am my mother I am my father I am that whole bundle of crazy I grew up with and when I need a fix I call someone or look in the mirror. Thus, my children needn’t ask and I have jettisoned the responsibility to explain. They know from me being their father just where I came from. My wandering Arameans are wandering around inside me and wandering around the house with me and when I leave, they wander out there too.
Pop, tonight I will say the holy prayers on your behalf and that I am you does not diminish one jot the gratitude I feel for you as my father. You gave me everything; especially that dreamy saudade, I got it most from you.
Where did you get it? That’s Levi Yitzchak’s question, freedom: when does it begin? It’s an infinitely regressible concept.
I fell back asleep for a few hours, an hour maybe, someone let Gracie back in and she made it up the stairs herself. I put her in her cage palace, asked her gently to get some sleep, I’m tired Gracie, please go to sleep for a while. Dream up.