Cold

by jkatejohnston

8 December 2013

Dear Max,

About a month ago I meant to write about riding to work after a wind storm, and one of the side streets was covered with sycamore leaves, no pavement visible all the way across. It looked so peaceful. There are still leaves on the ground now, but we’re coming to the end of it. And when I ride to work, I dress more or less for the slopes. The air is dry, and the sycamore trunks and branches are white in the morning sun. Blue sky behind the branches.

On Friday at work, all day it got darker and darker. I walked to the seventeenth floor in the early afternoon and looked north. Black clouds. But I got home before the real rain started. And here I am in the early morning dark, lit by the gas fire and the Christmas tree and the glow of my laptop screen. Teresa just left for the gym. (She walks there.) “If I don’t come back, just go search for an icicle.” Enzo’s watching some new Japanese cartoon that we don’t think is too slutty or violent. Comfort all around.

Last night after reading books, Enzo wanted to draw an oarfish and write something about it. And he started to cry a little—the kind of crying where he’s deciding to do it, not fake, but not exactly spontaneous either. Mostly just tired. “I don’t know how to write. I want to do homework.” So I got out his dry-erase writing pad, and he practiced writing numbers and letters for a few minutes. (I think Teresa got this writing pad for him years ago before we decided to do Waldorf.) Then he drew an oarfish and I said the letters to him and he wrote them down. And then he went to bed.

His drawings look like the drawings of abused and neglected children in studies on the subject. He gets that from me.

I’d better get these notes typed up while I still remember something about them:

Enzo was running his fingers through the coins from his piggy bank. (His piggy bank is a plastic peanut butter jar.) “We’re not running poor yet. Because of my money. Which makes me a target for every robber in town.”

Enzo and I mixed corn starch and water to make a strange thick paste. Then he started adding food coloring. “It’s like alien DNA. Only Nature knows. The blue just gets beautifuler by the minute. Moving beauty.” He got tiny dinosaurs and sunk them in the mixture. Then he got out a pizza cutter, a melon baller, a pumpkin carver (a tiny serrated saw-like thing) and a sushi mat. And tinkered with all of the above.

I gave Enzo my front bike light to use as a flashlight at night because his ran out of batteries. You can set it to a steady light or a slow flash or a fast flash. I left his bedroom and he set the light to fast flash. “Kate! Yo, Johnston! This is the signal that means I want something.”

And on the backside of this notepad is a very old note from a scene I don’t remember at all now. But the note says, “Are we gonna do some math? I’m attracted to doing some math.”

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