Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Five...or Maybe Six Stages of Grief

     I resisted my friend's rude intrusion last night while I snoozed in my bed. He kept shaking me and telling me the toilet was overflowing and the bathroom was flooding, but I only wanted to snuggle deeper into my pillow and pretend the world could get along fine without me. I don't ordinarily get the kind of sleep where I don't know I'm sleeping, and I had been thinking to myself that this sleep was that kind of sleep.  I wasn't aware of my dreams all night, so my brain was finally achieving a level of rest I had been seeking for my entire life. These nights are the best nights. But my rude bed buddy persisted in waking me and insisted I take control of the increasing horror going on in the bathroom.

     Here's the thing. Three or four degrees decorate his wall. People far less educated than him have been able to figure out the overflowing toilet problem for generations. What is his freakin' problem? For that matter, what's my freakin' problem? How am I always ending up with the kinds of guys who can't or WON'T take the initiative to fix the problem (whatever the problem may be) when the problem arises? Why do I have to be the one to give up all the excellent sleep? Why do I have to do everything myself?

     I would have given him my third-born child if he would have just taken care of it and let me roll over and get a couple more hours of sleep. I'm tired, bitches.

     But...he was right. It's my bathroom, my responsibility. It's my toilet.  I'm the one who knows where I hide the plunger. I understood at that point he would never be able to find it slightly to the right of the toilet tank. I groaned as I rolled away from him to my side of the bed.

     I sat on the edge for a few seconds. Through bleary eyes, I stared at the clock and tried to calculate how much time I had been asleep and if it was going to be enough to get me through my day, because I still have to do homework for five classes, and hang out at my job for eight hours or so. If this toilet situation didn't abate, I might have to deal with a plumber on top of everything else.

     Whatever. I'm Supergirl. I can handle it.

     The bathroom is about fifteen feet away from my bed, and in the time it took for me to drag my tired body over there I had prepared myself for the worst case scenario. The sights and sounds, and OH MY GOD, the smells of what I was about to face...

     But you know what?

     There was nothing there. Just a nice, clean, orderly bathroom. The mats on the tile floor remained fluffy and un-disgusting. The pristine blue water rested in the white porcelain bowl without a hint of overflow. Nothing needed my special attention.

     I looked twice, just to be sure, and maybe again, because why would my friend tell me there was a situation when there was obviously no situation? Was he dreaming?

     I decided he must have been dreaming, so I returned to the bed to shake him awake and let him know that the toilet was not overflowing. The horror was not increasing. We could all go back to bed and get some well-deserved sleep.

     And then it hit me.

     He was not there. He was never there. I live by myself. I don't ever have a bed buddy. That guy doesn't even know where I live. We don't hang out.  The last thing he said to me was he'd see me this summer and, I haven't seen him all summer. He would never be cozy enough with me to be shaking me out of my dreams.

     Ain't that a bitch? I can't even dream the good dreams when he finally shows up in them. I can only dream the dreams that have me wishing for a better dream.

     Or at least for a couple more hours of sleep.


Friday, June 19, 2015

And it hurts anyway.

A friend of mine lost a child.

It seems so common these days to hear of this kind of loss, and yet it still stands in the corner of my life, like a shadow in the periphery, the hint of something that does not happen in my vicinity. It's still something that only happens to other people, over there, on the outskirts of anything that directly affects me.

And we all try to be "good friends" when it happens. We "can't imagine the horror." We'll "pray for the family." We hug and we send plants and flowers and donations to cover the expenses because it's "the worst, simply the worst thing that could happen," right? We love our friends. We want them to know that we care.

And all the while, we really couldn't imagine the horror.

But because we're not heartless people, we try. We think about our kids, and we wonder how it would feel if this had happened to one of ours. How could we live through that phone call? How could we look our friends in the eye who are only trying to be comforting, and all the while knowing that they are sad for us, yes, but also relieved that it's not happening to them?

How would we not grow bitter and hateful and angry at everyone, including God, who doesn't really exist, because a benevolent God would never allow an innocent child to die? A benevolent God would never allow a mother to have her heart ripped right from her chest to be stomped on, to be left to rot.

How could we even get through one more day?

And I imagine the anger boiling inside me when I think of any of my children being torn from this world by any means at all. There are so many ways it could happen, and life is so fragile. I want to gather them up into a soft, pillowy cocoon so they'll never be hurt in any way. They'll be safe from torture, from fear, from pain, right?

But what if that's not even enough? What if what kills them comes from within? How do I protect them then? What kind of deals can I make? Who do I see about making a trade?

And it really doesn't matter, all this imaginary anger I feel when I think about all the things that could happen, but haven't happened.

Because I really can't imagine the horror of losing a child. Because the real horror of it will last forever, and my imagination is only good for about five minutes before I give up on thinking about that kind of Hell, because it's just too painful.

It's just too painful.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ma'am, Please Step Away from the Banana

Don't look at me. I'm hideous.

Seriously, I am.

Right now my arms and legs are covered with hives due to an allergic reaction to who-the-hell-knows-what. It started two nights ago after eating a very ripe, very delicious banana sent by the gods of all things ambrosial. 

In my mind, this gluttony is the cause of my demise. I have been allergic to bananas for a few years now. I was under the impression the allergy had dissipated, so I started eating them again, half a banana at a time, building up for the whole thing, you know? I did this four times, and I haven't had any reactions--no wheezing, no up-chucking. I was essentially in the clear, right? So when Saturday night rolled around, I was feeling a party coming on, and I went for the whole banana. (Should I insert dirty joke here? Nah. Better not. This isn't exactly a "family blog," but ya never know who's reading.)

The next day at work I was popping Benadryl tablets from a Pez dispenser, unapologetically offering them to my co-workers who have not had the pleasure of cavorting with "Loopy Drug-Induced Nessa." It got me through my day, but the hives remained.

This is the forty-fourth hour of my misery. In the words of Warren Zevon, “Poor, poor, pitiful me.”

I’m using this hideousness as an excuse to stay indoors, out of the public eye, but we all know, I don’t really need a reason to do that. It’s well with my soul to remain invisible. 

Hydrocortisone baths and shots of Benadryl are powerless against this raging rash, so I trotted down to Urgent Care and got signed up for some steroids. They make me twitchy like a drug addict who just needs a fix. (sniffsniff.) “Hey, uh,” (wipes nose) “You got any more a dat, uh…banana puddin’?”

Funny thing is, Doc says it’s not a food reaction. This reaction comes from something topical, something I probably used in the shower. I have to go back through my day and try to remember if I changed anything about my hygiene habits. All I can think is that Jacob (kiddo #3) schmoozed his way back into the house a few days ago and probably poisoned my body wash with his boy germs. Rotten child.

Maybe I’m just allergic to Jacob 

or motherhood 

or roommates of any nature.

Maybe this is why I’m still single.

(Or maybe it's the invisibility.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

DREAM: We Let the Damned Thing In

     We’d thought the floods were bad, but they were just the beginning. We traipsed through the mud for days, pulling out random objects as we came upon them. The mud pulled back, and, depending who was stronger, or perhaps who wanted it more, our precious belongings were released with a loud sucking smack, back into our possession. We gathered, and we thought about rebuilding, but…

     Who’s in charge here?

     I am.

     Is there anyone better?

     That rubs me the wrong way. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know what I’m capable of accomplishing. What’s the point of asking for somebody better? To insult me? To doubt me? To anger me?

     I’m all you got.

     I would have shrugged and left it at that if not for the scene behind his silhouette. Four black spires twisting on the horizon, connecting cloud to earth.

     Into the house we race. The big ones are carrying the little ones when they trip and fall. Some are shouting, some are crying, and all are hoping the wickedness lifts itself up and passes us by without a glance. Of course, none of us believes that will happen. We know all too well we are not immune to tragedy. So into the house we go, and as far down as we can get to escape the curling, creeping fingers of destruction.

     Destruction comes in many forms, though, and he stands silently in the corner while we pray for safety. He lurks in the darkness of a dank and dirty basement and leers at the unsuspecting children, counting potential corpses.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Life Right Now in Forty Words or Less

I need a new desk, but we all know I don't have time to shop. 

I don't even have time to write a new blog post.

(So please don't mention this to my professors.)

Everything in the fridge is moldy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dream: The plumbing never works in those old houses.

That old, condemned house again.

I don't like the looks of the left leg, so I think I'll trim it down a little.

It's easy, see, just a little pressure right there, and a slice.
The problem there is that it's lopsided now, so I'll take a little from the right leg.

Hold these bones, sister, while I try to get this just perfect.

I'll have to do this side right-handed. The left hand won't reach around.


Guess I'll just have to do away with both legs below the knee, for balance. And a little off each thigh. The thighs have always been too thick.

I have no idea who clogged the bath tub.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fiction: Family Outings

I can jot down my personal version of the truth or I can tell you outright lies, and I'll call it fiction if I want to.

After all, it's what I do.

I could tell you about the time I rode my daddy's shoulders out to the sand bar at Savannah Beach in Georgia, where the nurse sharks were circling.

I was seven when that happened. He'd lifted me up and headed straight for the beasts with all the excitement he'd exuded when that fox in Alaska came trotting down the ice-covered road. It's bright red fur stood in stark contrast to the dull, gray snow. My daddy made me whisper as we watched it perk its ears left and then right and then skitter away, frightened by the presence of humans. Not humanity, mind you--just your typical, dirty rotten humans.

The sharks were less peculiar. They circled us in the warm, clear water, closing in with each orbit. Soon enough, my daddy was able to extend his arm so the nurse sharks could swim under his fingers. I watched them caress the smooth lengths of those fearsome fish. He never flinched, and neither did they. They seemed in perfect harmony.

 The rest of the family ignored us from the safe sands of the beach. What did they care about nurse sharks when there were crabs to be chased, castles to be built?

The breeze bounced across the surface of the sea and tickled past me, causing me to shiver. My daddy wrapped a strong hand around my ankle to steady me. Or maybe to scare me. I couldn't tell.
It was the kind of gesture dad's do, you know. The good ones, anyway, and my daddy had been pretty good for a while by then.

Or maybe he had only been pretending.

I had that crystal moment of clarity right there on his shoulders in the center of a swarm of nurse sharks. I realized I was at his mercy. He could use his strength to protect me, steady me, keep me squarely on his shoulders until we made our way back to the shore.

Or he could toss me in.

And I knew he just might be crazy enough to do it. And it might serve me right that he was finally paying me back for that thing I'd done the year before.

You know.

When I shot him.