Portrait of an Artist as a Single Dad – Sleep Overs

The incoming texts bleep both girls’ phones. Heads down, thumbs dashing off messages. They both look up and ask, “Can we have sleepovers?” At first I am leery. The last multi-girl sleepover entailed me losing at least two years off my life just due to casting spells to reassure youngsters that no witches could get into the house. “No, I have mad magic skills, kiddo, and have established a dome over the house which no witch can breech even while riding a switch.” One fearful youngster asked, “Have you ever killed a witch?”
To which I said, “That is not a question to ask, but no. My magic is soooo powerful that they don’t get close enough.” Relief in a child’s face is like coin of the realm.
I am sure great Diogenes would pass me by with his lamp, but he never hosted a sleepover like this. But that wasn’t all! Dinner and then breakfast and all the snacks consumed could have supported a village in some foreign country like Texas. Damn, but girls can pack away the food. My youngest will say, “I’m not hungry,” and then consume an entire flat of strawberries.
My girls stare. Thumbs hovering over respective phones as if repelled by magnets. “Who?” And then it comes out that they want to go over to someone else’s house and have a sleepover. Each girl to a different house. I pause for 7/11s of a second. Just enough time to visualize me alone in the house for just one night. OMG as the text goes.
I have visions of #BourbonForDinner #PantsoffandWriting #BlastingRachmaninov #RratedMoviesonNetflix. “Yes!” I say, trying to contain my exuberance of being lost, drunk and naked in the dining room eating steak and swilling fine Kentucky spirits as I type out a memoir of misspent youth of trying to do the right thing. If there were a gold medal for artistic debauchery, I’d be trying to win it.
So, “Yay,” they say and the thumbs fly. Thumbs like that could kill a fella. “Yay!” I say in my head so as not to let it out, planning a trip to the supermarket. For my diabolical plan to come together all I’ll need are charcoal, bourbon, steak, and coffee. Shopping list done. So little for such a grand scheme. The Ockham’s Razor of evenings.
But then part of me goes, “When was the last time you went out to a bar?” But no! Alone in the house within earshot of the train’s distant horn like the muse of travelogues and instability. I go back and forth. Bar, home, bar, home. But nothing will get written in the bar and one must keep one’s pants on, but noise and clatter of adults clinking glasses and the faraway laughter like the buzzing of neon lights from which I might create some story, some tale not yet told. Home, bar, home. I really want to write.
But comes the call. Maddie says she and her friend can’t have the sleep over at the other girl’s house, but if it’s okay with me, they can sleepover here. Oh those small twists in the pursuit of creating art. #GiggleBoxes #GirlsDancetoMozart #WritingAnyway #Home.

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