We Need Two Suns
Our youngest wants to go to Rhymes and Reasons, a daycare, after school. She says they have a rock climbing wall, and there she won't be worried about the house burning down. Her other plan is that we adopt. No babies. A sixteen year old who can drive her around. This, she says, will keep her mind occupied. Even if the teenager is agreeable, I say, you're putting all your eggs in one basket, thinking this will cure your worries. I go through them. It's not tornado season and they are rare here anyway. We're not in a fire zone or in a drought. We have working smoke alarms and our house's electrical has been inspected ... In three minutes, she's asleep. I crawl from her bed carefully, walk past the lamp with its glowing fish, swimming steadily past their back light in an even crawl, slip on my shoes, vow to make a plan for Monday, the week. How to keep this family afloat. Eating right and sleeping. I check our other daughter. Turn our her light. Fold laundry. Watch the rain bounce and run along the back deck, my husband out, in front of the TV. News of war on low, citizens of the world running past. Guns or blankets or clothes or food or children on their backs.

§   §   §

Right now I'm at a wall. I want to scrap the whole thing [looking up her father's history when he was working at the CIA.] I guess it has to do with being surveilled. Or thinking I'm being surveilled. Maybe listened to. (Three hang-ups in a row today from an "unknown caller," untraceable, unreturnable.) Do with it what you will: I can see my father darting behind trees, like my mother said he did, just back from overseas. Jumping out of the car on a familiar tree-lined street. He thought someone was watching him when maybe someone was.

Maybe I should visit the CIA. Or maybe I'm treading on dangerous, dangerous ground. Hell, I'm already on dangerous, dangerous ground. Besides, I'll just peruse their gift shop --- I'm sure they have a gift shop. And maybe it'll convince my father to talk to me, fly in and out of trees. I've read there are lots of trees. After, I'll go for ice cream. Try to throw them off. Ditch my cone. Go zigzag. Run. Run like hell. The sun filtering through the leaves.

§   §   §


Call Public Information Line at CIA and give them a gentle reminder that it's been two weeks. You know, a nudge. Yeah, nudge the ClA. The officer that's been assigned to you. Coax him along. Joke around a little. Say, There's this identity crisis I'm trying to work through and, well, this particular bit of information could SAVE ME FROM HAVING MY OWN LITTLE STAY IN AN INSTITUTION. Then start laughing, like you've made a joke. Heh, heh, heh.

Okay, YOU'RE DEALING WITH THE CIA. THEY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR PERSONAL CRISIS. Call them and be matter of fact. Professional: This is a courtesy call. I'm calling to remind you it's been two weeks and I haven't received the letter ...

§   §   §

Our youngest says we need two suns. That if we had two suns we'd never have to go to sleep. We are driving by a stand of Christmas trees. A few all lit up. Suddenly the car is filled with the scent of cold, fresh evergreen.

--- From My CIA: A Memoir
© 2012Katherine McCord
Telling Our Stories Press
Go to a
of the book
from which this reading is taken

Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH