Bess cried around three, ready to nurse. It’s funny how she can do this without waking. I asked Nico if he could imagine just, say, falling asleep halfway through eating a burrito. He got almost misty-eyed at the prospect and said, yes. He could imagine that, yes. So I woke and nursed, then I returned to a dream of islands that I arrived at under duress. Around six, Lucy crawled into bed with us. Then she wrapped a slap bracelet around her calf like she was getting dressed for work, got out her bag of mail, and began to color all over each letter and card. “Who are you writing to?” I asked. “People who died, the sicks,” she said. I said I’d write to them too.
Today is a nice day, a Saturday. I walked to the corner store. We walked downtown. We went to an experiment that you would have liked. Take a block, and for twenty-four hours, make it different. Here, it was this: parked cars off the street, traffic down to one lane, bikes and rickshaws everywhere, a row of food carts, jigsaw puzzles on pretty blankets over oil stains in the converted parking spaces, trees in horse troughs throwing shade, sweet potato vines spilling, and low strings of winking solar lights. The idea is that if you show people how the world can be different, then they’re more likely to work for a different world.
That’s what you did.
I remember the first time I heard you give a talk. We’d driven from Iowa to Indiana—a drive we made many times. You told that packed room how soldiers had unburdened their hearts to you in the bathroom at Abu Ghraib. You said the torture hadn’t ended, it just moved. You talked about not being able to pray many prayers as the dissonance between those words and your life was too great. You said, “Aslan isn’t safe, he’s good.”