It's 3:06 PM. The baby’s against my chest. God bless the Baby Bjorn. 93 degrees outside. I scrolled right, checking my sisters’ cities. Minneapolis, Fargo, Fort Collins. 74, 71, 63.

I'm staring at a green street sign. It says Baldwin Avenue in white letters. I’m squinting. My glasses aren't good enough. There's a light breeze. Leaves trickle down from tired branches.

I'm sitting on the stoop. The two trees in the yard are far enough apart for a slackline. I doubt I could make that distance. The flat red rope is in the trunk of the car. And Mouse took it to soccer.

The heat’s the only reason the baby’s asleep. Which is why I took her outside. So volcanicly hot. We’re not walking. Not FitBit counting our steps. Because now the trees cast no shade. The sun sears, and her skin is even more delicate than mine. So we sit. In the small shade of the house. Listening to the song called Paz by Dr. Toast. The afternoon is slow.

No headphones. I wanted her to listen. Heat beat combo. The soothing ambient hip-hop, wordless wishlist for sleep.

Leafy green vines crawl up the trees. I look around, all over.

Across the street there's diapers scattered in the yard. Styrofoam cups. Old tires. Something plastic and blue. Looks like an ice pack.

I'm feeling OK today. A little jittery this morning. Nothing for breakfast except an organic banana, almond butter and the last of the hazelnut coffee from Dunkin Donuts. A friend told me USDA Organic doesn’t mean much. 140 chemicals and pesticides permitted, instead of the full 280.

I scheduled an appointment with the shrink. The school’s wellness center has free therapy. Next Wednesday at 9:30 AM. We shall see. I know exactly what I'm going to say. I need help letting go. I thought I was a happy hippie. Then the mump mump came. Now I’m hyper obsessively and pathologically distrustful of other people holding her. I'll probably request to skip the introductions. Pass on the pleasantries. I need to know how to let go.

My boxers are slick with sweat. The heat is rising. Yellow butterflies drag themselves across the sky. Maybe it’s just one. A car is driven by students in shiny aviators. Another one.

Before the sun rose, I swallowed two holy basil capsules. Mixed with a little something extra. Made me a jittery. Perhaps I took too much. Maybe the caffeine.

 

Now I'm noticing the leaves falling. The expansiveness of the tree. Branches reach up and over the road. I feel peace for six seconds, maybe seven. Maybe the holy basil wanted to bring me soft thoughts this morning, but they couldn’t. In a classroom with no windows. White walls and no color. Tiles and no sound.

I’m going in the house soon. Hope the baby doesn't cry. All our a/c. I'm going to make a pumpkin pie with no crust. Because the Whole30 diet says so. Mouse and I are giving up on Saturday. It will be 28 days instead of 30. Maybe I'll give up now. I could use a beer. And a crust on that pie.

I still can't see the Baldwin Avenue sign. I ordered new glasses from zenni optical. I got an email this morning saying they shipped. I still haven't shaved my head. Borrowed a friend's razor. It's sitting on my desk looking back at me. Shaking it's head. Do you listen to the rational mind? Or the heart? Which logic to follow?

I start my yoga classes with downward facing dog. Not right away, but early on. I say it's an inversion. With the heart above head. Feeling over thinking.

Truly I should take my own advice. Maybe I will. I've been selling everything I own. On facebook marketplace. Down to the wet sweatpants I found on track three years ago.

Yesterday I listen to this YouTube thing on the Tibetan book of liberation. Which I guess is a book on how to die. Which I guess is important because if you don’t know how to die, then you don't know how to live. They say. Or said another way: we're all afraid to die. And that's how we spend our lives. Running scared. Repressing. Head over heart.

I spent the 55 minutes the pumpkin pie was in the oven imagining my funeral. Because when I’m dead, I won't see you sad people. I’m doing what the Tibetans say to do. Some people call it the book of the dead. Others the book of liberation. I need to see the shrink because I don’t see sad people at my funeral. I see people happy to see the baby. Is that fucked up?

If Mouse had a chance to read this before I launched, she’d say Houston we have problem. Warn me about that last paragraph. She's ask me if I really felt that way. Or if this was just some schtick. Schtick, I’d say. Performance art.

Stay tuned for my Facebook funeral. I’ll write my own eulogy. Maybe you can comment. Like the movies, when they give the mic to the family and friends. Make up nice memories or something.

By the way weight-watchers, because there was no crust, I ate half the pie. Up the eggs, and it holds together quite nicely.

 

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The Alt Dad Diary is a book of grief and anxiety, of questions and confessions. One that explores the way pain and anxiety can be simultaneously public and private, constant but not always at the top of a person’s mind. If you’re into this, and believe art and artists are a community life-vest, you can support me at www.patreon.com/altdaddiary.