the american league wild card game is on mute, half a cold decaf on the table. it’s the first day of the postseason, or at least the first day of this new bullshit wild card round in this new bullshit postseason format. the astros won their game, along with the rays and the white sox. yankees and indians are just getting underway.
i’ll need to start making dinner in an hour or so. i’m trying to have it ready for the start of the debate. tonight’s is the first of the four.
i’ve been writing to the two of you in my mind throughout the days, days filled with domestic duties while sarah tends to ben. i’ll be listening to a podcast, and suddenly i’m reminded of something one of you said in your letters. there’s a beauty in how the connection maps onto whatever i’m doing at the time as well. oh, this is good, i’ll think, i should stop and get this down. i can become overwhelmed by my desire to share the moment. i was out forever with cooper this morning, waiting for him to do his business. sarah gave him a knee bone yesterday to occupy him while i was in the city; those things always back him up. all the while i wrote to you in my mind.
you know, walking cooper used to be sarah’s responsibility. i’m not a fan. i mean, didn’t i used to get paid to do this shit? i wouldn’t own a dog if it weren’t for sarah, especially in this city. a dog eats up too much time. besides, cooper needs a backyard. no, you know what? scratch that, he needs fields of space to run around and other animals to play with. he’s a terrier, for crying out loud. i hate having a despondent dog around the house, <quote-01>but what am i supposed to do? tell sarah i think the dog is too depressed? insist that he’d be happier elsewhere? she thinks it cruel to own an animal and then give it up, but i don’t know. if you know there is better out there for him, maybe keeping him is worse<quote-01>. we can’t give everything that we love <quote-02>the full attention required<quote-02>.
i went around and around with your henry james quote while i was out with cooper this morning, murph. i was reminded of something i heard from louis ck about regret. people who say they have no <quote-03>regrets<quote-03> sound conceited: i’ve done everything right! look at me, i’ve made all the right choices! aren’t i something?!
it’s tough to tell whether or not we’d be happier if we’d chosen a different path. an adoring fan once told the violinist isaac stern, i’d just give anything to be able to play like you. / would you practice for hours a day every day for twenty years, he replied. a dickish response, but nevertheless, <quote-04>i see his point<quote-04>.
i probably shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about such things, i suppose. just walk the dog, man, my murphian pragmatist says. just listen to sarah when she wants to talk, says <quote-05>pastor hoke<quote-05>. <quote-06>right, and probably when she doesn’t want to as well, i think<quote-06>. it’s not like you’re, what, fighting the dog for money? you’re doing fine, wuck, murph chimes back in. <quote-07>i’ve remained skeptical of therapy since starting it earlier this year, but recently i was able to define at least one reason why: i don’t want to be building new neuroses<quote-07>.
i wonder if this isn’t what i’m doing here. perhaps i need some distance from your gazes as well. <quote-08>perhaps i’m too close to these letters<quote-08>.
after cleaning the bathroom earlier, i continued to write to you in my mind while i showered. i somehow followed the disparate threads to elon musk’s neuro-link or whatever it’s called--the whole direct brain-to-brain communication thing. oh, i remember: it was in fantasizing that i might simply upload for the two of you the letters i’d written in my mind throughout the day. <quote-09>what would those letters look like, i wonder<quote-09>. is it possible i’ve done myself a disservice in brainstorming so many hypothetical letters before sitting down to the task at hand? to think of all the times hoke must’ve written the lulo story <quote-10>in his mind<quote-10> before composing it on the page, my goodness.
i should be giving you both my full attention here, not interrupting the work with my expectations for what the page is supposed to look like. so much for editing, i hear you sigh, murph. don’t tell me how to celebrate christmas, another <quote-11>murph in my head retorts<quote-11>. as i meander from thought to thought, <quote-12>you wonder where i’m headed, hoke<quote-12>, and what points i’m trying to make.
well, to return to cooper: is it myself i see when i’m certain he’d be better off elsewhere? is it sarah? hell, perhaps it’s ben. perhaps i feel totally unqualified to father a child. these are horrible thoughts; i hate that i indulge them, but as soon as i find reason to tune them out, another voice arises to question my reasoning.
perhaps my sin is simply in <quote-13>sharing them here<quote-13>, i don’t know.
i need to start dinner now. sarah was supposed to be taking a nap, but she’s passed through twice, once to get water and once to use the bathroom. the yanks are up three in the fourth. funny, because if they win, that’ll be three of the four top seeded teams a game away from elimination. what a joke. you’re right about our nerves, murph; this is gonna be rough. i was texting with my dad last night, and he said he’s not gonna watch this series. there’s more than a little of his father in him, not wanting to play games he knows will rile him up. <quote-14>a certain courage there, i suppose<quote-14>.
yanks just got another across.
i’ll be back after the debate, after i take the dog out.
...turns out the evening got away from me. i figured i’d wait to get back to writing after my commercial audition tomorrow morning, but i can’t sleep. i’m scrolling back through all the back and forth on the dodger thread that happened during and after the debate, getting myself riled up all over again. not sure how much of this you read, hoke, but there’s not much here--just people hearing what they want to hear. i posit the online climate that facilitates trump’s popularity is more dangerous than the man himself, and folks wonder if i don’t want to see him remain in office. whatever. let them wonder.
<quote-15>i suppose if i had a firmer a grasp on my thoughts, i wouldn’t be as upset by them being misunderstood<quote-15>. a group thread isn’t the format for <quote-16>nuanced conversation<quote-16> and neither are these televised debates--if you can even call them that. we know these events to be antiquated and ineffectual; still, we tune in for the theater of the thing. i must admit, <quote-17>i did not expect trump to run the show off the rails as dramatically as he did<quote-17>. i don’t think any of us did, at least not to the extent that he was able. <quote-18>unflappable in his brazenness, he was<quote-18>. what must the conversations look like in the biden camp today? i‘ll be curious to see how and if biden adjusts his approach--curious to see how and if i adjust mine on the thread.
the morning is starting to show around the edges of the blackout curtains. i’ll have to be getting ready for my audition in a few hours. the anticipation of work is probably contributing to my restlessness. so many concerns in competition. if our record-setting season ends by losing two out of three to a below 500 team, i swear to christ. twelve runs the yankees got last night. twelve.
...but we knew we could count on the indians to lose homefield advantage, ‘m i right? (delayed groan) fuck you very much, you’ve been a horrible audience, goodnight!
i hate to say it now, on the morning of what feels like a must-win game, but after reading your letter about the first leaves of autumn floating into the river, hoke, <quote-19>i thought of the quote murph texts us at the end of every season, of bart giamatti’s leaf-clogged drains and rain-slick streets<quote-19>. i later followed the path of those leaves around to the other side of summer, to spring’s end: a park bench beneath a row of flower laden acacia trees, the opening of the musical carousel.
you’re right about there being no wind, julie says. the blossoms are jest comin’ down by theirselves. just their time to, i reckon.
i figured i could use the leaf-clogged drains and these falling blossoms to juxtapose abram and the salmon at the river with the dodgers. i loved those lines from carousel the first time i heard them. i didn’t think the blossoms comin’ down by theirselves could be beat, then... just their time to, i reckon. i can’t remember if i was out with the dog or taking a shower or what, but i thought it could work as a benediction of sorts, an acknowledgement that the time is at least ours, whatever comes.
sarah just turned toward me in her sleep. ben has been fussier than he was the first couple weeks, but he’s sleeping pretty well tonight. sarah found a white noise track online that is supposed to mimic the sonic environment of the womb. <quote-20>it works surprisingly well, despite how fabricated the sounds<quote-20>. the heartbeat resembles the slow clip-clop of horse hooves, and the shushing vocalizations--meant to mimic the ohm of ears underwater--bring to mind mechanical breathing machines. we are lulled away by the apocalyptic soundscape of death’s tired and unprogressive trot aside a pair of ventilators.
i have to try and close my eyes for a minute. i hate that i’m all over the place here. whatever it is i need to say, i’m not saying it. <quote-21>i’m sorry for that, boys<quote-21>. maybe i’ll get something better down after my audition. then perhaps i’ll be able to sleep.
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