An Excess of Water
The day of one shortened ride

Songs of Agitation and Nostalgia

For the first time in some days, Charlie asked to 'type b teletubbies.' It was around midnight.

It was also the first night in a bit that he was unable to sleep. He did, very gladly, get in his full bike ride on Wednesday as the rain had at last stopped and there was a good breeze.

The backdrop to everything is that his school year ends Tuesday, after which he has a week off and then six weeks of full-day summer school -- feels like a luxury as in past years Charlie has only had four weeks and only for half the day.

But, he has a different teacher. And it is not yet clear who his teacher will be in the fall.

I went up to Charlie's room after it had been quiet. He was sitting at the foot of his bed. It was 1.30 am and his big blue blanket was balled up in the middle of the bed and the sheet was wet. He moaned.

I praised him for telling me, such as he does and hastily stripped the bed and grabbed blanket and sheet and ran to rinse them in the basement sink and then put them into the dryer. Yes, they need a proper wash, but that might take an hour and that time was of the essence was apparent from the sound of pounding in Charlie's room.

Jim and I hurried up: It was the metal and silicon corner of Charlie's iPad pocking the blue wall. He stopped and growled. He was playing what can be his music of agitation: REM's 'What's the Frequency Kenneth?' and the Pogues 'Thousands Are Sailing.' The latter is especially beautiful and full of longing and sorrow while the former has plenty of what I would consider aggressive male guitar riffs: Teenager emotional tumult in two songs.

Then Charlie turned on Barney's Let's Sing Dance and Play! (or something like that), listened for a moment with the iPad to his ear and caterwauled and another corner of the iPad notched another part of the wall.

(The wall has endured far worse notches, I should note.)

I stole over to Charlie and turned off the iPad and placed it on the bed. Jim had Charlie lie down on the plastic mattress cover and I ran to the basement. His blanket was dry but the sheet still damp so I brought up the blanket and Jim helped Charlie, who was definitely still on edge, to wrap himself in it. Then I went back down for the sheet, deciding that it was fine if it was not completely dry.

I shook out the sheet and brought it upstairs. 'Sheet bed' I said to Charlie who got off the bed, which I made carefully, pulling the sheet taut and puffing up his pillows. He lay down with his blanket and pushed the iPad at me: 'Turn on.' Jim and I glanced at each other and I did.

Charlie played two songs of Barney, interrupting 'Just Imagine' and skimming through all of Wiggle Bay. Then he played the Kinks, ending with 'Shangri-La' which at one point had signified calm in Charlie. But he now seems aware of the longing and dissatisfaction in that song ; a few weeks ago, he got angrily agitated while listening to it.

Maybe he was just tired and worn out, but he fell asleep listening to Ray Davies' plaintive voice.



Same sheet and blanket always? No accepting fresh, clean replacements?

Kristina Chew

Trying to switch up the sheet! But everyone does need their security blanket... esp. at 2.30am. He does like them cleaned, just wish it didn't have to take as long as it does!

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