Bedtime

Christiana White
Photo by Gouthaman Raveendran on Unsplash

It’s bedtime. That’s the present moment.

The air is soft, light, and warm. But not too warm.

I hear the rumblings of the freeway. I hear Daisy biting a flea somewhere on her body. Now she is licking the area, soothing it perhaps, after a particularly fierce biting session. I hear motorcycles (or one?) on the highway. Have you ever noticed how on warm nights sound carries more? Why is that? That is true tonight. It was a warm day here, but not crazy-hot. Not scary-hot. Thank God.

The city laid out like a blanket at my feet, at the bottom of the hill and spreading, rolling, to the Bay, hums, thrums, a steady chorus of sound, like so many crickets that they all turn into one amalgamated sound. It’s a hum that is comfortable to me.

I feel safe here. I feel safe tonight. I feel secure. I don’t mind that my windows are open — both of my bedroom windows. That late summer night air wafts in, soothing me, soothing my skin. Bringing the scent of night on its tails…what is that scent? It’s fresh, it’s earth, it’s trembling leaves, it’s cricket trills, it’s skunk and asphalt and breeze and sea. It’s the train, thundering by every night in the flatlands, at the most extraordinary times. 3 a.m., usually, blowing its whistle so freely, interminably, forever.

It’s the sound of the planes passing overhead. Where are they going? This particular one is going north.

It’s bedtime. That’s the present moment. Dinner is over, but 1/4 remains in the large cast iron skillet for our friend David, who just came in.

My son and David were playing basketball. My daughter and her friends erupted in laughter when my son said he was meeting David for basketball and could we please save a little dinner for David, who has to spend the night here tonight? I said of course. In the mean time, my daughter and her friends began tittering, tittering which spilled into giggles, which spilled into full-throated laughter as they mocked and mimicked, making gestures like smoking “spliffs” (joints, I think).

Present moment. My mouth is dry because I had not one but TWO negronis — very bad. When I could have gone dancing. I am trying to not castigate myself for this small transgression.

I hear the kitchen faucet running. The dining room chair squeaking. David must be eating his reserved dinner now.

We leave early tomorrow — 6:30 — for Silicon Valley, my son and I.

Daisy is now scratching, presumably at flea bites, with her hind legs. I must de-flea her this week.

It’s the week before Labor Day weekend. The official end of summer. My daughter began her senior year on Monday. It’s an important year.

I hear the futuristic whoo whoo whoo, the weird, metallic reverberation of the BART train passing by now. And more planes.

Daisy pants. My phone buzzes. Forks clink against plates in the dining room.

I hear masculine voices, more planes, the thrum of the city. My sheets are soft and cool against my legs. My Knut Hamsun calls.

My dear dog sighs, deeply.

It’s night time. We rise at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

It’s bed time.

Good night.

Christiana White

Written by

I write personal essays about food, travel, love, loss — the viscera of life. Currently at work on a memoir. Visit me at ChristianaWhite.com.

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