Just after my parents told me Doctor
and Mrs. Appleman would be getting
a divorce, I saw the doctor sleeping
in his bed. It was at the day’s pool
party in his backyard, and one of his
careless offspring had left open the
sliding glass door separating him
from the froth and corruption of one
thousand idiot children. The doctor’s
mouth was open too, his skin like
the chlorinated foam we children
drank like ignoramuses. It would
clean out our systems, sure, and
tt tasted like the dead part of sleep
that we tried to deprive ourselves.
The sheets puckered under him as
if they were sour candy wrappers
and some of us might have thought
he looked like a retard, someone who
rightfully belonged chained to the
bed post and yet still too loose with
his grooming and neglect. The doctor
wore the same striped pajamas my father
sometimes spent all day in, although
the doctor was said to be consumed
by something different, his own brilliance;
it separated him permanently from
his own wife and children. My mother
explained this with a certain resignation,
just as she had begun to use words like
aver and damage, demur and unconscious.
Everyone appears as if they are children
when sleeping,  she must have told me,
not in the dénouement of the dreams
they are watching, but in  their destinations.
As I watched the doctor sleep I wondered
how could he sleep through this divorce,
if through sleep it was possible to stop it,
before his middle daughter would be left
to marry a biker; his youngest booted from
the Hebrew school we were shipped off to,
together, and his oldest, the one who was
my age, into a mentally ill draft dodger
moonlighting as a mathematical genius-imposter.

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About Jane Rosenberg LaForge


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I have a family and a job and yet yearn for more. I do not wish for fame or fortune, but for a certain enchantment that would make me wickedly beautiful and ethereally intelligent. In other words, I wish I was a princess. I guess.
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