There are good nights, and there are bad nights. Just as there are good days and bad days. But the nights – the bad nights – are the worst. Tonight, for example, is a bad night. These days, Lila won’t sleep if she doesn’t see me next to her crib. To achieve this, she forces herself to open her eyes every five damn seconds. She finally drifts off to sleep, and I stay by the crib for 20 minutes, 30, before allowing myself to slip out of the door. The slightest sound of bare feet on parquet is comparable to a landmine, and I stop in my tracks, wincing and praying to all the different gods – God, Buddha, Allah, any higher power that people believe in in this world – to please let her go back to sleep. She shifts, rubs her eye, and continues to sleep. I tiptoe to the kitchen, not allowing myself to breathe until the door closes quietly behind me. I breathe a sigh of relief.
She starts crying.
“I shouldn’t have sighed!” I reproach myself, although I know it wasn’t my sigh that woke her up, but her innate ability to piss people off.
I go back (to jail), and after 20 minutes I fucking give in and rock her in my arms for 4 Beck songs that I sing in my head, then put her down. She shifts again. I hold my breath.
She opens her eyes, smiles, sticks three fingers into her mouth, removes them, and says “Buh”.
I decide to leave the room. Let her cry. I don’t care. I have a life too.
30 minutes have passed and she’s still at it, crying, half-standing half-kneeling while holding on to the crib railing, drowsy from sleep but enough of an asshole to keep on wailing. I surrender first. As always. (”Pussy”, I can hear you saying contemptuously.) I mentally flip a coin in my head. Heads, I remain calm. Tails, I may have to throw her off the balcony. The coin falls. Heads. I sit next to the crib, whisper against her ear, sing another Beck song, recite Dr Seuss books, until she drifts off to sleep.
There is a finality to her finally falling into a deep sleep. Her little body – filled with so much evil! – sags against you with all the weight in the world, you’d think she spent the day doing mental maths or running a marathon instead of, I don’t know, pooping and farting. I put her down and she obligingly turns over, accepts the pacifier and sleeps.
Imaginary confetti falls from the ceiling as I pump my fist in victory and hop around in silent cheer. I can finally finish that film I’ve been trying to watch for 3 days! Finally finish that email sitting in my drafts folder! Finally go online and search for a return ticket from Avignon! Finally sit on the balcony, light those candles, nurse that bottle of Clairette de Die, and just soak in the warm summer night! Finally, finally, finally, I can put that box of Picard yakitori in the oven, make some rice, and savour a hot meal. Or I can do a combination to save time: sit on the balcony drinking alcohol and eating yakitori while watching a dvd on a warm summer night!
I glance at the clock. It says 23h38. Involuntarily I yawn. Then, like a chain reaction, my body starts to complain, my back starts to ache, and my stomach tells me, in a tiny voice, “Eh, actually, I don’t really feel like having yakitori that much anyways…”
So I drink some orange juice from the bottle while surveying the mess of the living room, swearing to myself, “I’ll fix all this tomorrow” (because I’m good at lying to myself), brush my teeth and turn off all the lights, drop into bed, roll the comforter around my body and admit defeat.
She starts to cry.
Lila = 8,573,292 ; Kala = 0. Like I said, there are good nights, and there are bad nights.
Currently listening to:
Crying, Wailing, Teething and being a General Pain in the Ass