@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Till I Get To Sleep
“I have to show you something in case they’re not back by 7am,” the boy says, 5 going on 6, son a fellow comedian, named after a famous comedian. I was babysitting him for the evening. His parents would be back long before 7am.
He led me to the refrigerator where he had a liquid antibiotic.
“At 7am, I need to take 10 milligrams of this.”
“Sure,” I laughed. What a mature little kid.
Mostly, he read to me. It made me nervous how smart he was only because my own nephew is not much younger and not even close to this kids reading level. It was impressive. Together, we read almost half of a “Captain Underpants” book, which are very funny books. We were both laughing.
When I told him he had to go to sleep, he didn’t contest.
“Okay…” he said, “but can you lay with me till I fall asleep? My mom or dad usually lay with me till I fall asleep.”
He clutched onto a little stuffed bear and rested his head on my shoulder, where I stayed as still as possible even after he fell asleep so to not disturb him. Then, carefully, I slipped out, tucking him in.
“Baby, bring me home to bed
I need you to press me down
before my body flies away from me”
[Powa, Tune Yards]
It’s been over five years since I lived with my family, but to this day when I hear a neighbor in the morning talking to someone while I’m still in bed, I think I’m back in that childhood home, I think it’s my family, my mom, dad, sister, brother. It’s weird to me that still happens.
When my brother and I were in Costa Rica, I would rise before him. Not that I’m a morning person. Trust me, I’m not. I’m a night owl with horrible sleeping habits and there are too many mornings that I am paralyzed with depression and exhaustion. Costa Rica, of course, was a different story. We were in a Central American paradise with blue waters and rain forests. We didn’t always eat breakfast together, and when we did, we didn’t speak to each other. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how much I liked having a person to drink coffee/tea with in the morning. Granted, if this person talked to me, I’d probably be annoyed with them, but sitting quietly with a person you love with a cup of caffeine at hand was something I didn’t even know I craved.
I usually spend one night a week at my best friends apartment out on Long Island. He is gay, and sometimes I joke about him on stage that he’s the reason I’d been single so long because he doesn’t seem gay so in our years and years of going out together, I never got hit on because people always thought we were a couple. As far as gay best friends go, he’s the worst. He doesn’t provide any fashion tips for me, which is why I continue to dress poorly, and if anything, people think I’m the one who’s gay. As far as best friends go though, he is the best.
On the fourth of July, we were heading out on a childhood friends boat.
“Oh man,” one of our friends said, “I thought Jimmy was going to bring his new boy.”
“I am Jimmy’s number one boy. Now and forever.”
“That’s true. You are like a boy.”
In the morning I’d wake up at Jimmy’s. I like waking up there. His couch is super comfortable and it’s one of the few places besides my bed that I actually do sleep well. Jimmy has ritualistic morning habits which remind me of how I used to be. Even in the morning he has a good disposition. Again, we don’t really talk to each other much when we wake, but it’s nice to have someone there. I think I’m quite dishonest about how lonely I actually am most of the time. As much as I do love my isolation in my cozy hippie den.
It’s most surprising to me. For all I wanted when I moved out was to not have anyone around. To wake up alone. To not have to talk to anyone. Be disturbed in anyway. To sleep in without being woken up. To get up early and not wake anyone else up. To start the day, peaceful.
In my relationships, I more than not hated waking up in someone else’s apartment. But worse, was having someone else in my apartment when I woke up. It’s more typical of guys, I suppose, but I just wanted my privacy. In postcoital, I didn’t want to be laying next to that person anymore.
And so… It was never hard for me to tell whether or not I really loved someone.
But then there were times where I’d imagine someone holding me till I get to sleep. Even then, I’d think… well, that’s different. He’s different. I’m different.
In what might be considered the most popular children’s book of all time, “Goodnight Moon,” by Margaret Wise Brown, the narrator says, “goodnight nobody.” Why the fuck is that even a line in a children’s book. Rather dark. Even for me. It’s followed by, “goodnight mush, and goodnight to the old lady whispering in the corner, ‘hush.’”
Wait… what the fuck is happening in this book? How did it get so weird so fast?
The nighttime is something I very much look forward to. I’m a comedian, after all. Much of the day, I’m so tired. The desire to lay my head down on my pillow second to none. And I could look around my room and say goodnight to the various objects (my elderly landlord could substitute for the old lady whispering). Or I could dream you’re here with me. Maybe in the mornings, the oh so dreadful mornings, wouldn’t be so dreadful at all if you’re here… quietly sipping our cups of caffeine. Knowing the day ahead will be filled with music and laughter.