by jkatejohnston

28 April 1995

Dear Max,

Michele has a friend named Kendall who wrote a book called The Day I Became an Autodidact, and it’s so good that my hatred and despair about the fact that she’s published and I’m not almost instantly gave way to joy, admiration and a glad, generous spirit. This book is so entertaining and various and funny, I can hardly stand it.

I was reading it in bed.

“You don’t love me anymore,” said Teresa.

“Yes I do.”

“You like Kendall better.”

“No.” (Still reading.)

“Then pay attention to me! You’re just reading and reading, and soon I’ll be asleep and then it’ll be morning, and then I’ll be working and you won’t see me for a long time.”

I put the book down and kissed her and gazed at her face as her eyes closed. In seconds she was asleep.


The cats like to be fed in the middle of the night. They jump on the stereo cabinet and then down onto Teresa’s head. Or they walk on her, sit on her head, or one will sit on each side of her head until she finally gets up to feed them.

So last night Rhoda jumped up on the stereo cabinet and skidded around on some loose papers getting ready to jump. “Rhoda! You’re the devil-kitty,” said Teresa sleepily.

“Want me to feed them?”

“No.” We lie there. Rhoda moves about getting ready to spring. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah.” She gets up and I see her tall thin figure swaying sleepily. “Kitties, oh my little Kitty-Cats…” a kind of no-tune singing.

Back in bed. “Baby, I’m all awake,” I say, “I can’t get to sleep.”


“Tell me a story.”

“I’m asleep—” half a snore, silence, a sparkling burst of laughter, silence again.

“Baby, do a little dance.” No response. Then her feet begin moving under the covers, more laughter, silence again. “Sing a little song.”

A long pause, and I think she’s really asleep this time, then she sings in her no-tune way, “Do a little dance! Make a little love! Get down tonight…”

Then several minutes later when I’m sure she’s asleep, “Crack!” This means I’m supposed to get her underwear out of her butt-crack where they’ve ridden up during the night. I pull the satin fabric and smooth it. “Other cheek!” I finish the job, and then she’s asleep and I go back to reading.