I slept with my window open last night, the last night of winter. The cars woke me up. People on their way to work. I could have buried my head and stayed there, warm and sleepy, the first morning of spring, but I didn't.
Scouty was awake until ten, last night. Kurt was in the front yard, protected in the halo of the porch light, putting together her trampoline. It was a present from Grammy.
Scouty couldn't sleep, she said. "Every time I try to go to sleep, I just keep thinking about the trampoline," she said. We let her stay awake until it was finished.
A couple down the street was fighting. The man was screaming at her to get out of his house. I strained my ear to listen, like a busy body while I tied down the trampoline safety net. I strained not to remember when that echoing, disembodied voice was mine. I dated a criminal, once. Sometimes we were angry the whole night through. Sometimes I screamed and threw things until the sun came up. Most of the time, I waited, though. Most of the time, he didn't come home.
One time, though, I smashed a bottle on the kitchen counter. I was bleeding, he was dangerous. He came from a small place with big, rippling secrets. Secrets with muscles and teeth. He was unrecoverable; he took up negative space. He ate everything up with his psychosis. I smashed a bottle and cut myself, threw it at him. He scrambled onto the front yard and fell on his face. Our landlord appeared, out of the fog. She had a look on her face like she felt sorry for us. I loved her for that, for looking at me with tears in her eyes in that moment, when I was so ugly and torn.
I wanted to hear the neighbors fighting, last night. My girl was up past her bedtime, wearing one of daddy's t-shirts as pajamas. She jumped and laughed and landed on her back. We told her, "Five more jumps and then it's bedtime." People driving by must have been shaking their heads. We let our four year old stay up so late. She didn't stop jumping at five more jumps. I couldn't stop myself from laughing, her little bare legs in the moonlight. I was happy. I didn't have to fight for anything, anymore.
That is how I spent the last evening of winter.
My first morning of spring is quiet; an island.
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