I'll admit, I've been sleep deprived for the better part of my 59 years. And frankly, as we live and work in increasing insecure and impecunious times, my deprivation has gotten more, not less, egregious.
There are weeks, no, months, on end where I feel like I do little but go to work and return from work, then once I return home only go back to work again.
I had gone to sleep late the night before we arrived at Teresa's and we were up early--at 3:45AM to be precise--for a 5:50AM flight from LaGuardia to Houston, then Houston to Monterrey. Then it was six hours of hard driving through the desert.
I was tired. Tired like a hamster on a wheel. Tired like an old Jew whose soul has grown deep like a river.
We stayed up with Teresa, and had some beers and ate some of her surpassing arroz con pollo--the same recipe that I had had so many times that summer almost 42 years ago.
When I was done eating, and had cleared the table and washed the dishes, like the good son I was, I said in Spanish as I had said so many evenings so many summers ago: "Es hora de que me golpee el heno." It is time for me to hit the hay.
So, leaving my wife, who is, literally indefatigable, up to spend some time with Teresa, I repaired to the little bedroom I had shared with my summer's inamorata, Karmen Rodriguez. It is never comfortable, I found, sleeping in a room full of memory, especially when you are over-tired and maybe you ate too much arroz con pollo and certainly drank too many cervezas.
I pulled the covers off my side of the bed. I never sleep with covers and folded the blankets and sheets onto my wife's half. The bed was short and my feet stuck out from between the slats of the footboard, but in moments I was in a deep slumber, only unable to fall asleep for two or three hours when my wife came in after midnight and woke me with her attempts at quiet.
I fell asleep for good, finally, around three in the morning, and slept a deep dreamless sleep like a Mexican night, black and soft with a gentle breeze and full of stars and the chirp of a trillion sombrero-wearing crickets.
I woke at five, which is what I do, and walked down the street to a small market and bought a dozen oranges, using American dollars, and a cup of black coffee and some milk, just in case, then went home to Teresa's and hand-squeezed some orange juice for the three of us.
I drank my coffee slowly. It was thick and bitter and good, and I read "El Diario de Coahuila." which arrived with a thud on Teresa's doorstep. Then, having read all the paper I could manage with my Spanish rusty from lack of use and from 40 years of speaking primarily New York Spanglish, I turned on my mac, checked my mail, of course, and ready the gloomy news from the Times.
By then it was seven, and Teresa was awake. And she was ready to make her son some huevos.