As if to smooth the non-touching wrinkle in our marriage, he brought potent creamed coffee to my classroom. I drank the large coffee in sips and slurps on and off throughout the lecture and now it's two in the morning and I'm wide awake. For hours it seemed I lay beneath thick covers unable to warm up. I started with few clothes on, a t-shirt, a pair of pajama shorts. I got up to get socks. I switched the shorts for pajama pants. I finally threw on a robe. Still the bed was cold, still my mind wouldn't stop. Last step was getting out of bed and hitting the keyboard.
Music haunts me, Mexican music. The tones have been following me, trailing my every move. A week ago or so on a Saturday night, in a similar vein of wakefulness I rose to the sound of Mexican music coming in through a cracked-open window. Near two-thirty in the morning I saw. I pushed the covers off and walked through the dark to poke my head out the sliding door of our room, listening for some minutes to the music. From next door, I realized. For the longest time I listened, so much like the musica my mother listened to when she felt homesick. The words, the meanings, I had no idea. My Spanish has never been good. I tended, I tend, to gather meaning from the tune, from the rises and dips in the melody. This...I couldn't quite read. I wasn't picking up joy. Reminded of her pain, I went to bed. The music was unusual. The music carried so far, it stayed with me until I fell asleep. I dreamt of my grandmother.
In the morning, my son came to me and said plainly, Mom, Robert is dead. Someone killed him. 23 years old. At a party. Somewhere. Around one in the morning.
Oh no, I said, oh no, his poor family. His poor parents. Their world has stopped cold. For a few weeks, for some months, their world will not be real. He was one son of five.
The music comes to me now. I wonder if they'd learned of it. If someone learned of the killing and played the music to soothe a heart in shock. Perhaps it was coincidence. Perhaps it was a dream. I won't ever know because the family is private that way - the dad waved to me during the week, a wave that screamed of normality, of business as usual. I know that's not the case.
Writing hasn't put me to sleep yet. I hear a whispered voice carrying down the hall, "Mommy." No, that's D's rhythmic snoring. A kind of choked music, a soothing, grating, familiar noise which at once can lull me to sleep and keep me wide-eyed.
Tonight I asked a student if she'd be interested in a Law and Literature class. She said yes, but hoped music would be included as part of our literature. She'd love to research rap as a statement about law in our modern society. Yes, yes, that's wonderful, I said. Music. Music.