During daylight blizzards it looks like our old schoolhouse is zooming through space, and this is miraculous rather than disheartening because the winter is just fresh. I like standing on the balcony to hear the way the snow eats the echoes and makes the world seem soundless and fake.
I have a new coat, which is green instead of blue or brown. I'm coping.
Popsicle and I build a fort. We disassemble the chesterfield and pin up blankets. She noodles the engineering problems seriously, furrowing her toddler brow and pacing. "Maybe this pillow is a door, Papa."
We sit inside for a while. I read a tremendously bad science-fiction novel by the glow of a lava lamp while she tucks in her teddy bears for a nap and tells each of them a story. The stories are morally instructive, judging by her tone.
I've torn my pants crawling in and out of the fort. I am wearing long-underwear underneath, and it is red. Popsicle says I look like Red Guy, her imaginary friend based on the DVD packaging of Spider-Man. She says this with a certain amount of awe, and I am humbled.
I am supposed to be working but who could work? I'll make up the hours later. I cannot face animating the injection of farmed bovine collagen into the human papillary dermis for cosmetic purposes when I've got a daughter in the throes of love-of-fort to turn to.
My wife and my unborn son are out there in the blizzard, fighting their way home through herds of panicked traffic animals chortling along the furrowed roads, palimpsests of pioneering trajectories across the flowing slush.
The sun fades. Popsicle wants to know where it has gone, and we talk again about the Earth as a turning ball. She strains to understand, her forehead twitching in a worried buckle above her eyes. She spins the globe on my desk and names the countries she knows: Canada, China, Germany...
My step-father calls. He's stuck in traffic. He wants to make sure my wife got home okay.
The wind roars and the steeple groans, the bell swaying and knocking against the rails sullenly. This schoolhouse has stood a hundred years, I remind myself. The world outside is visible only as fluid whorls punching at the lightbeams cast by the General Store and the church across the street.
I take solace in the fact that the purple Nissan has new snow tires. (Also: Littlestar is a driving ninja.)
My mother calls. My wife isn't home yet? She wants regular reports.
I crawl back inside the fort, tearing my pants further. The lava lamp is off. Popsicle advises me to be quiet, because the teddy bears are still asleep. "What do you want to do?" I whisper.
"Just lie in here wis you," she says. She rests her head on my thigh and tucks herself in with an edge of the teddy bears' blanket. "You stay here wis me now, Papa?" she asks.
She closes her eyes. (She has no cares.)
My wife and her uterine cargo return to us intact, the purple Nissan roaring like a biplane ahead of twin crows tails of sleet, a single headlamp opening a fuzzy cone of falling stars ahead. Nobody I love is dead.
I wish my coat weren't green, but other than that I'm good.
Posted by Cheeseburger Brown at 22:35