4:30

It used to be, back in the day here in Starr Hill, that things *happened* at 4:30: children and parents came and went from the house, the cats began to whine for dinner, I’d hit the point where I’d think I couldn’t make it through another minute of the day. Back in the day, it was rough, you know. But into all that, damn near invariably, there’d be a knock at the door and my dear, dear friend from next door would stroll in. “What up, cat?” he’d say to the cats, and he’d chat up whatever combination of children where still here and when they left, he’d listen while I cried about how I “hate this….” (by which I meant everything, back in the day), and he’d scan the paper and he’d just be there. And I would make it. Through the new job and the crappy assistant and the children and parents who wanted me all the fucking time and the sad, sad break-up.

I could tell you how he also took care of my house when I was gone, and showed Sophie how to play frisbee in the street. How we’d sit on the porch with the paper and talk about girls or just say nothing. How we picked plums from the tree by the school on our way the the theater and how that was the best season those plums ever had. But even if I told you all those things in the tiny and precious detail that they deserve, I would not even scratch the surface of the wonder that is this man.

They’re not made any better than this one.

Today, I was napping on the couch, and Sophie was hogging the internets and it got to be 4:30 and when I opened the front door to the knock that woke me up, there he was, same as ever – boy-huge shoes and falling-down pants, speaking to the cats and hugging Sophie.

He could not have been as happy to see me as I was to see him.

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