Write Her Name In The Sky

Barnaby has moved, like clockwork, into his Cars phase. It isn’t cars, it’s Cars, the movie, more specifically the toys from the movie, that he loves. We can blame Aunt Deb for this. Both of his great vices, Lightning McQueen and the delicious taste of Ketchup, he owes to his doting Aunt Deb, who often tries to provide him with both when he’s having lunch at her house.

But the other day, he was playing with his Cars in his room, and he told me to play the guitar for him. I obliged, mostly because I’ve never turned down anyone who’s asked me to play, and because I love the idea of him loving music as much as I do, as much as my family does. I played songs that he knows and loves, the various “ABC” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep” versions, “Rainbow Connection”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and so on, and then I was just noodling. As often happens, I stumbled on one of a thousand two-to-three chord songs that rattle around in my brain’s ether and I was singing “Free Fallin'” to him.

He stopped playing with his cars and looked over his shoulder at me. Then he came over and sat down on the floor next to me and listened. At the end of the song, he said, “That’s a boo-tiful song, daddy. That song is BOO-TIFUL”, and I agreed. Then, like he usually does, he started to deconstruct it, and he said, “I’m free falling, daddy. I’m free falling and you’re free falling and we are both free falling!” and I said, “Well, what about mommy? Where’s mommy?”

And Barnaby said, “You are gonna write her name in the sky!”

I want to tell you what it’s like, but the words fail me in a way that I’ve never experienced before. I don’t feel like I can’t explain it, I feel this deep ache of shame that I can’t explain it.

I just deleted eight paragraphs of this blog. I’ll never be able to write about him, I fear. I can tell you why I love theater, and I can tell you my secret desires for my life, my plans for immortality and the story of how my life was saved, but I just won’t ever be able to talk about him, I just know it.

He’s a funhouse mirror, one that looks like the best possible version of me layered into the best possible version of the girl I fell in love with, and then made pure and perfect. I can’t talk about him, I would have to pull my eyes out of my head, dragging my heart along by a tendril, and implant them into you to make you see him.

I’m sorry, kid. I tried. I’ve sat here for too long with too much else to do. I was waiting for a day that you were away, and it hasn’t helped, I just can’t do it.