jazzaphonic (adj.): of a sound: resembling or characteristic of jazz music

In the night, after she’s gone upstairs, the only sound is the slurp-suck of the dishwasher and I slip in my ear-buds to drown out the sound with Kamasi Washington’s ‘Final Thought’ which starts soft but soon layers up with drum and brass and I’m shuffling through to the hall to check the shoulder-bag, again, even though I know it has everything we need – jelly babies (Bassetts), nappies (Pampers), nightdresses (M&S), babygros (ditto), lip salve (Nivea) and CDs (indie-shite) – then I flick open her purse to check that she has cash although, of course, she always has cash and she’s had this bag packed for a week and the only thing that worries her – she says – is that I might lift something out of it when I’m fussing – as if – and with that thought I pull my hands away and, hooked in my fingers, is a wee cloth cap.

                In the kitchen is the bottle of Glenmorangie Lasanta waiting, waiting for the celebratory dram – maybe today, maybe tomorrow – once we’re done with the waiting, yes, when I can do more than lift the cork and sniff the sherry-cask finish – is it finish, I mean? – that will wet the head but which, I know, would also tuck me in tight tonight, if only there wasn’t the chance of being flung from sleep – by  screams, by panting, by a patient hand on the arm – and having to take off, then, to the hospital with the taste of the whisky sharper than the taste of toothpaste and the frantic, frantic worry that I might be over the drink-drive limit, just maybe, with the strength of the stuff, nevermind the guilt of the fact I’d been keeping it, saving it – like superstition, or karma, or a charm – like a test.

                The front door is bolted – of course it is – but I peer through the glass at our Punto and I plan, plan, plan – even though it’s been planned: there’s de-icing spray in the glove-box and a blanket in the boot and a full tank of petrol; the tyres are pumped and there’s a shrapnel of coins to park with; the car-seat is in place – it has its own wee blanket over the top, so small, and that’s petrifying, petrifying – and I try not to think of my friend Ben whose partner went in for a C-Section and he was left in a box-room to pace, pace, pace, and all he could hear was the tick-tock clock with the second-hand that punched forward and then bounced back, staying shudderingly still, and he didn’t know if the wee one would ever get out of there – of that operating theatre.

 

She’s upstairs, the only sound is the slurp-suck and I slip in the sound which starts soft but soon layers up and I’m shuffling through to the shoulder-bag – Bassetts, nappies, M&S, M&S, salve, indie-shite - then her purse to check cash, she always has cash, and the thing that worries her – she says – is when I’m fussing – as if – in my fingers, a wee cloth cap.

                The kitchen bottle of Lasanta waiting, waiting – today, tomorrow – yes, lift the cork and the sherry-cask finish – wet the head, tuck me in tight tonight, flung from sleep – screams, panting, hand on the arm – and take off, with the taste sharper than toothpaste and the frantic, frantic over the drink-drive limit, maybe, with the strength of the stuff, the guilt I’d been keeping – superstition, karma, charm – a test.

                Door is bolted – of course – our Punto plan, plan – planned: de-icing spray and blanket in boot and full tank of petrol; tyres pumped and shrapnel to park; car-seat in place – wee blanket, petrifying, petrifying – Ben left in a box-room to pace, pace, and the tick-tock clock punched forward then bounced, shudderingly still, and he didn’t know if the wee one – that operating theatre.

 

The slurp-suck and the sound which starts soft, shuffling shoulder-bag – M&S, M&S – then cash, cash, and worries – she says – fussing – as if – wee cloth cap.

                Lasanta waiting – today, tomorrow – yes, the sherry-cask – tuck me in, flung from sleep – screams? – take off, the taste sharper than toothpaste, frantic, maybe, the guilt – karma, charm – a test.

                Bolted – course – our Punto plan: blanket and petrol; pumped and park; car-seat– blanket, petrifying, petrifying – Ben left to pace, clock bounced, shudderingly, and the wee one – that operating theatre.

 

Slurp-suck, shoulder-bag – M&S, M&S – then cash, cash, worries – she says – cloth cap.

                Lasanta – today, tomorrow – yes – tuck me in – taste sharper than toothpaste, maybe – charm – test.

                Plan: blanket and petrol; pumped and park; car-seat – pertifying – pace, shudderingly, and – that operating theatre. 

 

Shoulder-bag – M&S – cash, cash – cap.

                Today, tomorrow – yes – taste sharper – test.

                Petrol; park – pace – that operating theatre.

 

Cash, cash – cap. Yes – taste – test. Petrol; park – pace.

 

Cash – cap. Taste – test. Park – pace.

Cash – cap. Taste – test. Park – pace.

 

I take the ear-buds out and go upstairs. I lie down next to her and try to match the measured rhythm of her breathing. She doesn’t turn. It is difficult for her, propped up as she is by pillows.

                ‘What have you been doing?’ she whispers, with the slur of sleep.

                ‘Nothing.’

                ‘You’ve been checking the bag again.’

                I wait a beat. ‘Yes.’

                ‘Try to sleep.’

                ‘What if we’ve forgotten something?’

                ‘We’ll improvise,’ she says.