a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Abject gratitude

Posted by Thomas Nephew on September 26th, 2004

Belle Waring said she didn’t know what to say on the subject of Beslan, and then offered a lamb recipe, of all things. But it made a kind of sense, because she then said this:

I recommend washing it down with a combination of red wine and abject gratitude that your children are safe. Yes. When you wake up in the night and panic you can go look at them, to make sure their narrow chests are rising and falling in the dim room. You can smell their heads. Still alive. When Violet was just newborn she smelled a little like lamb, which made me somewhat disinclined to eat it. Now she just smells like milk and clean things. She’s sleeping on the sofa next to me right now. ZoĆ« is sleeping on a sheepskin on the living room floor. Safe. No one can get them, because the doors are locked and I’m watching them breathe.

I check in on Maddie at night, too. She still does something we call “shields up” — middle and ring finger of her right hand in her mouth, the left hand over that, palm out. Sometimes when I kiss her, she’ll breathe a little more deeply, then roll away for more good sleeping. Her hair smells like summer. And for now, she’s safe.

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