What counts as sufficient crying? I’m at the house of my college roommate and his wife. Their child, Corinne, has been crying for at least 12 minutes now. (I was wakened 12 minutes ago.) It feels almost exponential. Do I step in? If so, when? They must know by know. I’m amazed. How does anyone, let alone someone ten days less than one year old, carry on for so long? Is it because it’s all she can do? That’s such a physical feat. My natural – base – human instinct is to open the door. How can it be anything but pain? But I forgot to ask.
Does God see us as children that cry so much. I’ve cried for that long, though not with the screaming. 24 minutes now. I’m imagining scenes of neglect, getting called back – “But I didn’t know the difference between trouble and almost dead!” The shame, the turning away of everyone, the loss of my friends, the internal suffering. Forever. Though I doubt that.
If there is a God, the omniscient, good, all-powerful God, how does he (or she) survive this, times billions, every night? I can barely take 30 minutes of one child.
To Corinne, there must be some anger. Where are the faces to hold her and fix her? Where are the faces that hold and fix me? It was that suffering, not as loud, not as intense, but for months, that’s been this year. I wanted to be held, and let the pain go away. I want to hold Corinne, make the feeling go away. And I’m reminded of someone who needs the anxiety to go away, and how I wish I had that power. I’m so very close to just grabbing that someone the next time and telling her that. Instead, I offer a brief prayer, for my friends, me, and Corinne.
36 minutes now. There are brief pauses. Is it shameful to be so tired that I wish for silence and sleep? Back in April and May, I wrote this backstory for a superhero with that power. My desired power. Anodyne Man! Take away pain! [Corinne restarts.] But what if suffering was merely transferred, not destroyed? What would happen to that person? Maybe I’ll finish that. Right now, I’m reminded of an Emily Dickinson poem.
The heart asks pleasure first, and then, excuse from pain;
And then those little anodynes that deaden suffering;
And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be the will of its Inquisitor, the liberty to die.
45 minutes – maybe she stopped? Sort of. So long, so sad. 65 minutes, she is done. To bed.
Postscript: Corinne had just a dirty diaper. Her parents did not hear, and thought she had slept through the night, until I told them. I should have stepped in after about 5 minutes. The miscommunication didn’t happen again.