” I feel a little warm. I think. Do you think?” I press Alex’s hand to my face.
” Hmmm…a little warm, yeah. What did the thermometer read?”
” That’s not a fever.”
” I know, I’m just a little nervous, I mean with you guys leaving and I’m a little warm.”
” Do you want to come home?”
” Uh…………………nah. I’ll be fine. I never get sick.”
And away they went- Alex, and Stephanie our nanny, back home to Maine. Staying behind in our little NYC apartment was me and Luka. Just him and me.
Just me. With him.
And I was feeling warm.
The apartment was a purchase of Alex’s in his free-wheeling, oh my god I miss New York CIty, bachelor days in Maine before meeting me. He’d spent eight years there completing his medical residency and two fellowships, and boy does he love that city.
We both do. Before Luka, we’d go down from Maine at least twice a month. We hopped in our Jeep sometimes as late as seven o’clock at night for the eight hour trek, arriving so late our parking garage had closed. We’d drive down on a Tuesday and back on a Thursday. Whatever, whenever. Sometimes we’d fly, but one of us is prone to the anxiety, so we didn’t do that so much. We loved us some NYC.
Then baby made three. And baby made mommy all kinds of extra anxious. And baby needed forty pounds of crap carried around for him like he was the Prince of Wales, every time we traveled.
Mommy started sputtering out on NYC.
Recently, I’ve had a change of heart.
Our neighborhood, which slightly embarrassed me when we were childless, as it’s distinctly residential and full of young families-or, utterly un-hip- began to bestow it’s heretofore hidden charms upon me. Sandwiched two blocks from the East River on one side, and five blocks to Central Park on the other, suddenly I could see, through their iron gates and the copious leafy limbs of their guardian trees, a multitude of playgrounds. There are playgrounds everywhere. And they are all awesome.
The storefronts of dozens of children’s art facilities and music facilities and just plain old play facilities jumped at me now with their happy, brightly colored signs.
There’s a shit ton of stuff to do here with a busy little toddler.
FYI, the “membership” into most of these places, which by the way, garners you nothing more than the exclusive right to open and walk through the door, costs about as much as a car. The fee for an actual class is a handful of diamonds, or something.
Undeterred, I told Alex I was willing to consider spending a significant amount of time in NYC, now, before Luka starts school and moving all around and about is no longer a possibility. The snag was that I would be essentially alone with the little one, a good deal of the time.
Not a problem! In fact, I was looking forward to learning how to be a city mommy, just me and him. A little adventure.
The tentative plan was for me to start making some forays, four or five days here, a week to ten days there, with Alex always coming in as soon as his next days off allowed, and the nanny when she could, with the goal of maybe staying put there through the long winter months that can be so soul sucking in my beloved home state.
So there I was in NYC. Going it alone in our cozy little one bedroom, and I was feeling a little warm.
4:50 am. Morning one.
I’m not warm anymore. I’m teeth chattering cold from a fever nearing 103. I have a stinging cough. My chest is tight and burny and I hurt everywhere. I can actually feel the follicle of every hair on my body throbbing in agony. When I walk my back hunches over like I’m some Disney witch… but none of that alarms me. The illness is not my concern. Deep in my soul, a terror begins to swirl and gather, hardening into a solid black mass of dread. I slowly slide my red, puss filled eyes* to my right, towards the side of my bed…….to the crib.
A clap of thunder shakes the building and a brilliant, but sickly yellow shaft of lightening illuminates the object of my most shuddersome fright.** My sleeping toddler.
A terrible certainty grips me.
He’s gonna wake up. He. is. gonna. wake. up.
To be continued……
* there was no puss in my eyes, alright? But I was really, really sick.
** got a little carried away there towards the end. Tis the season..