(I know, you're shocked. You thought my kids were angels. But I f?gured that the truth would come out sooner or later, and I may as well fill you in now.)
Leafy almost always asks to sleep in the double bed with the other two kids, and every night I let him, with the warning that if he starts the pummeling or smacking, he will be moved to the other bed until I can deliver him safely, unconscious and snoring, back to the bed with the brother and sister he abuses so cheerfully.
I sit outside on the little balcony outside our room, across from the water lit by the twilight, the lights from the houses and boats starting to shine across it. I read by the light of my small lantern. Last night I started a book that I bought from a book stand. I think I memorized all twenty of the English book titles contained by that little stand and found the book that seemed to be the least smarmy, stupid, violent, or depressing. It was risky, but I can't be without a book to read at night. You know.
Frequently I go back into the room, which smells strongly of citronella and geranium oil from our Burt's Bees bug spray, to tell someone to be quiet, to put Leafy back in his bed, to encourage YaYa to calm down and not be shrieky.
Sometimes I eat an orange. I love oranges.
Last night, as I was getting into my new book, Kid A came running out onto the balcony. "Mom, Mom!" he said. "I think I heard Daddy's voice! He was calling- Rae"
"Nooo..." I said. We weren't expecting him until the evening of the next day. But I went out into the hall. He wasn't there. Then I went up the stairs, into the smoky rooftop restaurant and I saw him. The most beautiful face, even dirty and tired. He's back, and we are very, very glad.