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Back when Whitney and I were friends, her family would rejoice in my cross-state visits. They were a close-knit bunch and the kinship buoyed my self-esteem (a side effect which wouldn’t be currently unwelcome). Her little cousin Maxston was just a tyke, maybe four, maybe six, then. He took to me in a way my memory covets now that it’s been years since. He’d see me across the church when I met them all there and he’d come running, wrap his arms around my neck–a hug with little arms, the kind that made you feel like family when words and things paled in comparison.  Empty against little squeezy arms like these. I digress.

Maxston, in his six-year-old simplicity, couldn’t rightly handle upcoming excitement. He couldn’t count the days on his hand, couldn’t methodically cross off Mondays and Tuesdays on a calendar before bed, nothing was enough. The days waned too slowly when he had to wait. Patience is an adult game. He couldn’t sit in front of the television without legs shaking, without a burst, a sprint to Mom in the kitchen, asking When? When? when something better was creeping closer with every tick of the clock.

So Maxston starting counting things in six-year-old sleeps. If Whitney was coming home in three days, he would have to go to sleep three times before he could wake up and see her. So, three sleeps. That was easy to understand. I can close my eyes one more time and then the thing I’ve been waiting for will be here before the next time I close my eyes. That’s so soon!

I understand the logic because I, at twenty-five, am resorting to it.

Is it the drag that these current patterns are pulling me through, the weight of responsibility that I want to come out from under, the itch to press fast forward and search for apartments in a new city too soon? The future beckons in all kinds of shapes and colors this Spring and counting in sleeps is the only way to keep things grounded.  And so, too old, I count in sleeps to stay sane.

One more sleep until the only city that’s ever been home.
Two more sleeps until my high school best friend, if I can be so archaic with the term, until a gal I’ll  take any day as my sister, though she’s not, until long-distance gets a break, praise God.
Three sleeps until a day that needs to last forever.

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