By Sonora Taylor
I hope you had a successful night shift. I know it gets harder as the nights get colder. Less people out and about, and less people to take care of.
Cody and I had a nice night together. We played with his Legos and had ice cream. When we went to bed, he asked about you. He said he missed you.
Rest assured, I told him how important it was for you to do your work. He understands that Mommy works at night, and as such, Mommy may not be home to tuck him in. He’s okay with that, and so am I.
However, the night shift is starting to creep a little into your daytime—time that I’d love all of us to spend together as a family.
I know there are the little things we’ve talked about already: making sure there aren’t any dirty clothes left in the car, scrubbing under your nails when you shower, watching for stray drops of blood on the windshield. I said something, you took care of it. It’s what you do, and it’s one of the many things I love about you. Cody and I both love you, and we both understand why you work the night shift (well, I understand more than Cody does at the moment, but you know what I mean).
Maybe it’s the cold nights that have made your work go longer, but, I notice how late you come home. Lately it’s been at dawn. Maybe it’s the lack of people, maybe blood is harder to clean below freezing, maybe it’s because the lake’s frozen over and you have to find another spot to hide your work. You don’t have to tell me: the less I know, the more I can truthfully say I don’t know should anyone ever ask.
But while Cody’s getting older, he’s too young to not ask about where you go, yet certainly too young to understand. He’s old enough to know, though, that Mommy disappears and doesn’t show up to see him until lunch—or sometimes later, if it’s been a long night.
If it just isn’t possible to be home before dawn, then let’s talk about it. Let’s find some time. Maybe take a night off? I know you’re a bit of a “workaholic”—something else I love about you—but I think wherever you’re leaving folks can wait a night while we discuss a way for you to see Cody more and keep his questions at bay. The last thing I want is for him to not only ask me about you, but to start mentioning to his friends, and then their nosy parents, that Mommy’s never home in the morning.
(Speaking of nosy parents, I know you normally just take care of strangers, but Charlie’s father is a real pain in my ass. Any chance you could, you know, “talk” to him?)
Anyway, I’m sure you’re tired, or at least in need of a rinse in the shower after all the hard work you’ve done tonight. Did you see the paper with the latest body count? I’m so proud of you, I could just burst.
I feel nothing but pride and love for you. I want to work this out, so you can be all the things you are while also being there when Cody wakes up in the morning.
I love you,
Sonora Taylor is the author of several short stories and novels, including Without Condition and Little Paranoias: Stories. Her short story, “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,’” was published in Camden Park Press’s Quoth the Raven, an anthology of stories and poems that put a contemporary twist on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Taylor’s short stories frequently appear in “The Sirens Call.” Her work has also appeared in “Frozen Wavelets,” “Mercurial Stories,” “Tales to Terrify,” and the “Ladies of Horror Fiction Podcast.” Her latest book, Seeing Things, will be out June 23, 2020. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband.