Then, just as I'm beginning to drift off peacefully, it starts. It's a whimper that keeps on growing into a full-blown cry. As I sit up, I've got Michael Jackson's song "Thriller" in my head; I feel stiff like a zombie. I pass the mirror on the way to the baby's room and my fears are confirmed. The dark rings under my eyes would secure my part as an extra in the music video. Jackson could come over my house right now to do a remake; my backyard connects to an old cemetery.
I look out the kitchen window. The cemetery is quiet and dark. There's a perfectly spooky fog rising over it beyond the fence. The shed door is open, and my overworked imagination pictures the zombies helpfully shutting it for me as they limp across the lawn. Frowning at the baby, who is now wide-eyed and smiling, I wish he were sleeping. In fact, I'm kind of angry that I'm not sleeping.
I turn on the television to keep myself awake. The baby wants to play "blow on your hair." That's a game we made up, for the daytime. He laughs when he gets some strands to move. Lauren Hutton is speaking to me in an infomercial. She knows about my dark circles, and says it's a sure sign of aging. Maybe she's right, I think. After all, if it weren't for the shampoo commercial she did in 1974, I'd be a Jennifer. Mom must have liked something about her. I change the channel just in time to hear another model advise me to improve myself cosmetically, "because you're worth it," she coos.
The little person I'm holding is cooing too, as he looks up at me like I'm the most fascinating and beautiful person he's ever seen. Then suddenly, he digs into my cheeks with his chubby, sharp-nailed little fingers and smashes his slimy open mouth on my face. My son gives me his first baby kiss, followed by a clinging, joyful hug. My eyes are welling up; only I know this precious moment. Suddenly I'm the Grinch on Christmas morning; this little boy melts my heart. I think I'm okay with living life as a zombie. This midnight cuddle session is a moment of joy, and even Lauren Hutton can't bottle that! I'll live with the dark circles, because HE'S worth it.