March 24, 1981
Melanie flew home last night. It was the most tense few days we’ve had together without fighting. Apparently, she used to babysit, so she is pretty aware of the proper way to care for an infant, and that made me especially irritating to her. She said that I was a completely incompetent babysitter. She tried to play it off as a joke, but she meant it.
The ride back up was better than I expected. It turned out, that Elliot felt comfortable and safe in the car seat, and he slept for long bursts. We only had to stop three times to change and feed him. Melanie sat in the back seat, so she could feed him as we drove. She slept much of the ride too. Only waking up for him.
When we got back to the house, we brought him and all of his things that we had packed in, and I checked the mail. Again there was a letter from my anonymous pen-pal.
Thank you for taking the baby. I don’t want to give you too many spoilers, but this isn’t temporary. You will raise that boy, so let that sink in, because you’ve got him from now on. The good news is, since he’s going to be yours to care for, you will have something else to distract you from the endless loneliness that is this time-travel thing. In that, I envy you.
Talk to you soon,
Ted “Theodore” Logan
After properly setting up a crib that I had purchased on the way home, I sat down and wrote a quick response.
The best time I’ve had, the most normal and not lonely I’ve felt, was the month my sister was here. My girlfriend, the little bit of family that I have here, they’re great, but the only cure for this deep time-travel lonesomeness, is another time-traveler.
I know, you clearly don’t want to meet with me. But I could use a friend from the future, and I suspect that you could as well.
Let me know what you decide,
Bill S. Preston Esq.
Melanie wanted to read all of the letters, and I let her, but she was thoroughly lost. She didn’t know who Bill S. Preston Esq. was, or Ted “Theodore” Logan, or Marty McFly, or Kyle Reese.
With Elliot asleep, in the living room, Melanie and I went to the bedroom. I was exhausted, and so I fell asleep shortly after, but she had slept enough on the ride that, she went and sat in the living room and read and listened to the baby sleep.
When I woke up, she was sleeping on the couch, the baby’s eyes were half opened, and he looked drunk. She had fallen asleep in the funniest way, her face literally crumpling the pages of my copy of A Separate Peace. My long shirt that she wore as ‘pajamas’ was hiked up to midway up her back, one leg hanging off the couch, and her panties slightly askew on her butt. Then I looked over, and Elliot smiled, his little booties were perfectly on his feet, his cap covered his head, but not his eyes, and his outfit was on perfect. I had to fight to not laugh.
I decided not to pick him up, wanting to let him be happy as long as possible. Instead, I poured myself a glass of orange juice, and went about neatening up what I could around Melanie without waking her.
By the time I had finished my glass, Elliot was becoming more animated, and so I picked him up. I had a pretty good handle on holding him right, he never felt unsafe to me, but he never felt like he was comfortable. I made him a bottle, as I’d been shown, warming it up gently in a pot of water.
Before the bottle was ready, Elliot had had enough of waiting and was crying at full volume. Melanie jumped up, and when I looked at her, I had not seen her look that disheveled before. She ink around the corner of her mouth, where drool had mixed with ink from the book and smeared.
Once she regained her orientation, she ran off to the bathroom to ‘clean up’ which surprisingly meant a full shower.
As the weekend progressed, we took Elliot for walks in his stroller, and tried to figure out what we were going to do. Ultimately it became clear to me, that Melanie wanted to raise him with me, if I would let her, and of course I would. We agreed that once she was able, she would try to transfer to a hospital up here, and move in with me.
By Sunday night, when I brought her to the airport, we had discussed every detail that our exhausted brains could process.
My first night with Elliot alone, truly alone, was difficult. I kept waking up worrying that I had slept through him crying, especially when it had been hours since he cried. But everytime that I checked on him, he was snoring soundly.
Yesterday morning, instead of meeting at our normal cafe, my grandmother came over, and met Elliot. It was clear that she loved him already, in that way that I hadn’t been able to yet. She held him, and it was the most natural thing in the world.
“He’s such a cutie,” she must have said twenty times over the course of her visit.
“I know, well, his mom had been a pretty woman.” My brain was too fried to have the in depth conversations I was used to with her.
Then she had to go, and Elliot and I were alone again. On the rare occasion that he was awake, and not crying, he would stare at me, with curiosity, and I knew he didn’t recognize me. His brown eyes looked nearly too big for his little head, and had no expression to them. As best as I could tell, he was thinking “what the hell is that?”
Last night was much easier. Somehow, he’d learned to be comforted by me holding him, so I was able to keep him mostly calm until I got him his next bottle. I then slept while he slept, and woke to take care of him each time.
Somehow, he’s been asleep for nearly 3 hours now, and it’s 9 am. I have to get him ready in a few so we can go try to find a daycare for him. We have an interview at one, called Sunny Day Care, near my work in about an hour.