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It was a little home on two floors that smelled of roast beef and carrots and tea brewing in a saucepan, with the faintest whiff of motor oil wafting up from grandpa’s boots at the bottom of the stairs.

I was greeted by a faux-angry dachshund who I wanted to believe loved me and no one else. I got to walk him and sleep with him in the hammock and felt sad that my mother refused to trust or love him.

Spending a week with Mom Mom and Pop Pop alone was a different world than when everyone else was around. I got to choose where I wanted to sleep instead of having to be thrown into the hospital bed in the attic away from all the action, where the grownups were hanging out.  I slept on the couch in my clothes beneath scratchy knitted blankets in black and pink and orange and white. I could hear their enormous pink and white Big Ben ticking all night. If everything was quiet, you could it hear it from any room in the house.  I knew then why people suggest putting tick-tock clocks in with puppies to help them sleep at night.

No alarm clock woke me on those summer mornings. I think it was the sound of her slippered feet scuffing into the kitchen to get breakfast ready for her man, the sound of his razor, the scent of aftershave that woke me.  I’ve been longing for an enormous pink and white tick-tock clock to help me sleep at night. But maybe what I really need is just to write about those nights instead.