Nine years ago, two fine people from two fine families from two fine countries went to City Hall and got hitched.
Later that morning, they went to brunch with their families.
Later that afternoon, they took a nap.
Later that evening, their friends came by to celebrate.
Late that night, the barman at the Irish-American Heritage Center arrived with this glass.
Filled with whiskey at the time, it has since been filled with water, wine, orange juice and milk. It has been used to make up a quick vinaigrette, or as an ashtray for cigars. It has moved from cupboard to cupboard across the country.
In the cupboard, it has no match.
It isn’t part of any set.
It stands alone — one of a kind — just like the day on which it was given.
In his most recent visit, Grampy (formerly known as my father) brought me a copy of Carl Sandburg’s collection of poems, Honey and Salt. On the inside cover was an inscription written by the author’s daughter: “‘Love is a deep and a dark and a lonely__’ p.11.” Flipping to page eleven, I immediately read the following verse and was moved by the honesty and the acceptance in each line.
Since then, my beautiful friend has lost her beloved sister. It is one of those moments where the limitation of my own writing becomes glaringly real. So thank you to Carl for saying it for me, and for all of us, right there on page eleven.
When I get to “Good night nobody,” I always have to pause. What does it mean?! The thought is far too existential to follow a comb and brush and to precede mush. But there it is, in black and white: Margaret Wise Brown’s version of Godot.
And anyway, how can somebody say good night to nobody? Is it the same as when I say good night to my little boy, holding him close as we rock in the chair? Is he just something I dreamed up — some drooly, chubby, babbling figment of my imagination? Is it like the sun setting in gold waves across our lawn, the moon rising in a clear sky, the stars saying good night to another day of nothing? Or is it something much more ominous — some moment of foreboding? A reference to the way the universe will someday say good night to me?
Good night nobody.
Henry smiles at the comb and brush. He is waiting in anticipation for the mush. But I am distracted as we finish the story, as I am still fixated on nobody.