He shifts his weight
And moves on
From miles away
He says he loves me
I say it back
Then he moves on
It’s quiet at night
So much emptiness to fill
For a spell
I stand in the kitchen
Like a cliche
I balance on heels, making dinner
Laughter floats in waves
Through the house
Echoing off the walls
Like bouncing balloons
It swells and ebbs
It rolls back and forth
Like tickle fights
There’s football on TV
My feet find comfort
His hands find my back
Our bed is warm again, briefly
Then he shifts his weight
Says he loves me
And moves on again
Takes his music and goes
Alone, in the quiet night
I can remember the melody
And hum it myself
We stay behind
Hold it down
Occupy our time
Here and there
And when I say “blows” I am not thinking about bubbles or dandelions.
Or even that hot guy I saw standing in line at the grocery store the other day. Rawr.
I’m referring more to hairy ballsacks, possibly even diseased ones.
I have a good running list of reasons (39756385 items long, clearly) for this particular brand of Makes You Want To Vomit All Of Your Meals From Ever suckage, but today let’s talk about:
“When Shit Breaks And Doesn’t Get Fixed In A Timely Manner”
When shit breaks and you own your own house, the reason why it sucks is because you have to FIX THAT SHIT YOSELF. So that means, get off your lazy ass and determine the cause of the problemage and then do something about it.
When shit breaks and you rent, you’re often NOT ALLOWED to fix that shit yoself, nor are you allowed to hire someone else to fix that shit for yoself. Because, of course, when you signed the lease you did no less than admit that your judegment is not to be trusted, m’kay? And you signed an agreement that says “I am a dummee and cannot fiss thingies goodlike and also I can not has enough smart parts in my head to find any other good peoples to help me fiss thingies eether. ever.”
I swear that’s what the thing said, and normally I wouldn’t sign a document rife with such horrible spelling mistakes, for chrissakes, but if I remember correctly I had diarrhea that day so I was kind of in a hurry to get things wrapped up, because there is really nothing worse than sitting in a realtor’s office with a hot wet ass that ISN’T just a euphemism for how damn sexy you are.
But I digress.
So, basically, we’re not allowed to fix broken things. Instead we have to call and report them to property management, and they will send someone to the house to fix what’s broken.
Wait, no. I wrote that incorrectly.
They will THINK ABOUT HOW THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO send someone to the house to fix what’s broken FOR ABOUT A WEEK, but they will not do anything about it.
Then when your husband calls them and says, “Uh, did you get my two messages about how the kitchen light is broken and my wife has already set 4 fires in there trying to cook in the dark because she’s an idiot, and could you please just go fix it before she accidently builds an atom bomb trying to make Mac & Cheese in the dark? I know it sounds improbable, but really, you don’t know her. And it is not at all improbable. That kitchen light is SO MUCH MORE important than you realize” they will be like, “Huh?”
And then they’ll be like, “Oh, we need approval from the owner since it’s just lightbulbs.”
This is the part of the story where I tell you how I almost threw the phone across the room when John was relaying things to me. Because I was in the room the day that John called them and left a message, and I heard him saying, “Hi, our kitchen light is broken and we thought it might just be the bulbs, so I went out and bought new ones, but it still won’t turn on, so it’s not the bulbs. We need someone to come out and have a look at it and fix it.”
1) See that part where he said IT’S NOT THE BULBS? Yeah. I HEARD THAT.
2) John hasn’t been home since October 16th. I just want to go ahead and point that out.
3) As I type this, the light is STILL BROKEN.
After he set them straight in a much more polite way than I’d ever be capable of, they promised him someone would “be out tomorrow” to have a look at it.
“Be out tomorrow” in Property Managementese CLEARLY means “sit around with a thumb up one’s ass.” Either that or “laugh at your dark kitchening ass while we pretend like we care about you and your broken thingies, when if fact, we so very much do not. Buy a lamp, asshole.” I’m not sure, but it’s definitely ONE of those.
A WEEK LATER he called again to find out if they would prefer that we:
A) Burn down their building.
B) Set bull weavels loose in their office.
C) Poop in a box and send it to them instead of next month’s rent.
D) Get H1N1 first and then poop in a box and send it to them instead of next month’s rent.
They asked if there was an option E, and while I told John to say, “Yes, All of the above, you sons of bitches,” instead he just asked if they could please come fix the light in the kitchen.
He is such a pussy.
So finally, someone came the next day and looked at the light.
(Technically, they said someone would “be out tomorrow” again and so I got all pissed off because I AM LEARNING THEIR LANGUAGE. But they decided to mix things up to keep me on my toes. I am on to you, anyway, Property Management.)
On Friday, a nice man came to the house, stood on one of my chairs and looked at the kitchen light fixture.
He told me it was broken.
I almost had a hysterical breakdown at the delivery of this news because I had no idea the kitchen light was broken and I thought frantically, “Holy crap, how am I going to make dinner now, in the dark???”
But really, he said the ballast is fried and that he’d have to remove it and replace it. Then he took it off the fixture and he left, saying, “If I don’t see you again later today, I’ll see you Monday!”
It’s Wednesday. I have not seen the friendly Ballast Replacing Fairy yet.
I’mma gonna go into the kitchen later and whip up that atom bomb.
Hope you fuckers liked your lives. Some shit’s ‘splodin’ tonight.
UPDATE: So after I wrote this, but before I could publish it, the friendly Ballast Replacing Fairy actually showed up, except it was the same guy who came before and told me the ballast was broken, so I was a little bit disappointed. I was hoping for something with wings and a tutu or at least a glittery wand or a Pegasus waiting for him in backyard while he was inside working. Regardless, he had a new ballast with him and the knowledge necessary to install it.
Fortunately, while he was working, Braden made sure to point out loudly to me that “that’s not Daddy!” saving me from making the horrible mistake of pestering the poor guy to rub my feet. Of course, this is nothing new from Braden; he’s always screaming that information at random times, like when I’m on the couch making out with boyfriends, and also sometimes when my pimp comes to collect.
Duh, Braden, DUH.
Oh, but apparently the Ballast Replacing Fairy IS a fireman. Braden said so. Which clearly means he needs to be reported to the fire chief for his Fairy Side Gig. I’m 97% sure that there’s a “No Fairies” rule in the Fireman Job Requirements. It’s right next to the part that says you have to have really big muscles and the ability to grow masculine patterns of facial hair on command. I’m not sure whether it’s more or less important than looking sexy while you slide down a big metal pole in a hurry. Anyway, he’s breaking the rules.
PS: You’re a bunch of lucky bastards. There’s light in the kitchen now, so I probably won’t be blowing up the earth tonight.
John is gone and has been for weeks; he won’t be home still for some time. It’s okay. I miss him and Braden misses him, but the truth is that we’re used to him being away a lot. We have a rhythm we get into while he’s away.
Of course, after a while, Mommy gets a little cranky and somewhat tiredish. Braden and I do get along well. We have fun and I laugh even when he’s a turd. When he’s a brat, I am firm and I’m not afraid or unable to administer discipline. But it gets hard sometimes for me to reel in my anger when he’s really difficult, especially when I’m particularly, ahem, hormonal.
I’ve gotten to that point this week, and I’m needing some time for a break, a bit of quiet, and oh yeah, I have work to get done! I get frustrated at the lack of time for myself. I get Teh Selfish on me.
Today is rainy, again. Today is a bit colder again. He is annoyed that I am staying on the couch a lot this morning because my uterus is once again suffering for the sins of Eve (Hey, Eve, ya bitch, apples aren’t even THAT GOOD. I mean, I could understand if it had been friggin’ TIRAMISU or something, but really? Oh well.) and I’m Grumpy Tired.
He’s spending the morning running around the room throwing toys at me. He’s asking me to come outside. I’m being a jerk, telling him Mommy is too tired. We play ball while I sit on the couch. It’s fun, until I get hit in the titty. Then it’s hilarious. But painful. Ouch.
Naptime comes and I can tell he’s not ready; he’s too wound up. I let it slide for an extra thirty minutes. Then I pick him up and he whines. There are protests. I meet them with a favorite book and he slumps in my arms, tension flowing away, talking about Fluffy and Baron in excited anticipation.
We read and then the lights go out. We snuggle under a blankie and I rock as the lullaby CD plays in the background.
I wait for him to fall asleep so I can get some things done.
He is restless. He talks and I remind him that “naptime is quiet.” He whispers.
I wait for him to fall asleep because I really need to get some things done.
I close my eyes and rock, holding him close, feeling the tension in him as he moves around trying to find a position that feels sleepy, but it’s not coming to him.
I will never get things done!
I am frustrated. The minutes are stretching into forevers and I have work to get done. I want him to stop wasting my time. I want him to quit being annoying and just go to sleep.
I open my eyes and look down at his little face. His head is resting in the crook of my left arm and he is looking up at me. He is grinning to himself over jokes in his head. I feel annoyed because he does not look tired at all. I look at him with disdain. His eyes sparkle back at me. For a moment there is a new tension in his small body and then there is the undeniable sound of a toddler fart above the enchanting lullabies.
For a split second, we are frozen, eyes locked, our faces inches away from one another.
We both burst into laughter, giggling madly, still close to one another. He is delighted that I am laughing with him. I am defeated that he broke my quiet naptime stoicism, but in a pleasant way. The unexpected mirth feels good.
It falls quiet again. He is whispering to himself. He snuggles closer and traces the letters that stand out on my shirt. I close my eyes and rock as the lullabies keep drifting around us. His fingers fall on the hollow spot right at the bottom of my neck, tapping.
They become still and I open my eyes. He is looking up at me and suddenly his little palm rises from my chest and warmly rests on my cheek. He presses lightly and murmurs a cooing sound of “mmmmmms” that has always meant “i love you,” since before he could say words.
That feeling that comes right before an emotional sob rises in my chest, blurs behind my eyes. There is love and regret and guilt. It recedes and I just look at him.
His little hand slowly drops back to my chest and curls there. I put my palm on his cheek – something that has always calmed him.
His eyes are heavy and his lashes flutter like butterflies that can’t find the courage to land.
They finally rest and I listen as his breaths grow deeper and longer.
He is asleep now. I touch his soft chin with my finger, and I linger in the chair.
Suddenly there is no work and I lose track of time just staring at him.
I can’t think of a thing I really need to do right now.
Thanks for making every day harder. You’re a dick.
I do not like you. You do not actually make me more powerful, you just make me want to break people in half all day long. You do not help me deal with my emotions more effectively, you just make me cry at things that should not be cried at (the fight scene in Ice Age? Really? No. Really?) You do not make my son’s toddler habits easier to deal with, you make me want to run screaming from his presence. You are like a disorder all unto yourself. I am tired of you, officially.
Yes, it’s true. Your “farts are stinky like poopoo,” indeed. The amount of joy you bring into my life with simply silly things like that cannot be measured. Oh, but please don’t kick me in the eye again. That was the opposite of joy.
I see you lurking there. I know, I know. I’m almost officially a whole year older. It’s really not even exciting anymore. It just validates the white hairs and the callouses. If you were really as awesome as you claim to be, you’d give me my old bewbies back. Now THAT’S a happy birthday.
I know you miss being at home. To make sure you feel welcome upon your return weeks from now, I am saving you all sorts of chores to complete! Nothing says loving like that, right?
Dear Debt Collectors,
Thank you for the recent letter demanding the thousands due in medical bills, immediately. The way the entire sheet of paper was pink truly made me feel the threat inherent in your message.
Dear Property Management,
I’m guessing the magic number for phone calls before you come and fix the light in the kitchen is something higher than 3. Even if you have promised “someone will be out tomorrow,” they won’t. You don’t really mean it. It was a joke – you were just kidding! I get it now. I hope you get explosive, burning diarrhea on your birthday.
Dear Jillian Michaels:
When I do the “butt kicks,” instead of holding my hands in fists in front of me, I hold out both my middle fingers. It totally helps me make it through. I’m not flipping you off, though. You are the toughest bitch I’ve ever not known but loved. In a completely platonic, non-I think of you naked when I’m in the shower kind of way. (Really.)
Dear Mexican (our dog),
Please just stop being gross. Seriously.
PS: I know. Watch your back.
I know that you are tired. I know that you hurt. I know that it’s not your fault. I know that you feel bad because I always hate you. I am sorry. I’m still pushing and I’m trying really hard to get you healthy again. Please hang in there and work with me on this, damnit.
Did you hear what I said to Body? You are leaving me, and it’s making me frantic. I know you are just really tired of the antibodies in my bloodstream and the Hashimoto’s that is the result. I feel embarrassed that you are so important to me, in a way, but it’s true. You are important to me and I have cried several times already now, noticing how you are taking leave of me steadily. I do not like to see my scalp. Please reconsider. Please stay.
Dear Health Care Industry,
Please just fix it. Please stop telling me there is nothing you can do to help me. I am broken and you are supposed to be able to fix me.
You are supposed to.
So when I come in this next time, please do not turn me away again, telling me to keep waiting. I am done waiting. Ok?
Dear Reality Television,
You are still really, really stupid. Stop tricking people who I know are otherwise really smart.
I hate the temptation of your endless bags of delicious candy. I love your ghouls and goblins, witches, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts. I delight in feeling your spirit as I watch horrible movies about undead monsters. As you approach, I tilt my head back in the dark and utter a high pitched cackle. When you are gone, please make any leftover candy disappear. My ass does not want to be dressed up as an elephant for the rest of the year.
Dear People Who Drive,
YOUR BRAIN. USE IT.
Dear You Guys,
Thanks for still coming here.
Always the first to push off from the light
The fastest car, the quickest start
I see them in my rear-view.
I see you
so what is there to rush off to?
what is so important
that I have to be the first one
why do I have to make sure you are behind me?
why do I have to go first?
must get there.
what is so important?
the moon hangs heavy in the sky tonight
she hangs low
a half moon, like a milky breast
so big, grazing the horizon
tempting, teasing, calling my attention.
against my better judgment
my eyes flick to her
the heavy, half bust in the sky
over and over again.
as the car pulses onward
every time faster than all of the
rest of you
i steal endless glances
of the moon
calling me to her.
urging me to go faster.
challenging me to get to her first.
instead of watching the things
i should be watching
instead of keeping my eyes on
what is most important
i am making sure I rush onward
i have to get there fast
get my prize.
that is what I’m doing, right?
rushing forward because I have something to gain.
the truth is that
i am fleeing what lies behind.
the moon is just my scapegoat.
an easy target.
a pleasant distraction.
It is dark and warm. The cool water shimmers and swirls in front of me, calling me to fall into it. I close my eyes and imagine my body breaking the surface and sinking like a rock, cutting through with no resistance. The soft, surging liquid would swallow me, and I’d be gone. Just a rock with no choice in which way to fall.
There’s a slight breeze, but it doesn’t quite push off the way it feels as though the air is actually touching me. It’s the perfect kind of warm; it is the kind of warm a girl who grew up in the country can appreciate. The kind of warm that used to waft through my screened windows and call me out onto the front porch to stare at the moon and dream with my eyes open.
I’m sitting on the back deck at my parents’ house. It is not the house I grew up in. That is about 2 miles from here. It sits, full of memories and cobwebs. It sits empty, dark, and somber.
I have not driven past it on this visit home. I haven’t driven by and seen the room off the front porch where I would sit and wait for him. The place he would often come to for me. Where I would sometimes sit alone, disappointed.
I did drive past a road I used to turn right on almost every day, literally for years. That road took me to his home and his family, of which I was made to feel a part, so many times. It took me sometimes alone, and sometimes with him. It took me.
Like he had.
Every ounce of my heart was siphoned away, every piece of my soul seemed to have been drawn out. I would say it was painless, because, after all, I wanted it that way. But it would be more truthful just to say I must have enjoyed the pain. Or at least, that I endured it because I knew the prize was worth it.
I wanted it to be.
I’m sitting out here with a chorus of crickets and other nighttime crawlies singing me the sweet song of the country on a soft, close summer night. I feel comfortable here. I can stretch out my legs and breathe in the scent of flowers growing nearby. In this moment, no one needs me. I’m at peace. Just myself, in the dark, alone. Comfortable.
Over and over again I had put all of myself into him, willing him to be more and to somehow make me whole, as such. I piled upon him expectations and needs. I was not perfect. He was not perfect. We were not perfect. We were just us and us was foolish.
He-I lost me-him and we were both abandoned by the ending we thought was in store for us. I wanted promises, he needed freedom and choices. I needed validation and hope, he demanded space and what ifs. I was incapable of giving him what he needed while still finding my own answer. I was incapable of just letting go and being me – instead I wanted to draw myself from him, control him, manipulate his choices.
If I lay my head back and stare up into the sky, I see a black canvas for miles, dotted with brilliant, shiny specks of electricity and power from so far away. They gleam and sparkle; a new one seems to pop into the tapestry after every few beats of my heart. If I just stare this way for awhile, what I think I see and know changes over and over again.
I expect it to look a certain way, but I can’t control what unfolds before me. I have ideas about what is out there in my view, but it is flowing and changing constantly, right in front of me, and there is nothing I can do about it. Some of the changes are noticeable, some are imperceptible to me. I sense that.
It would be foolish of me to try to force the stars to stand out in the sky in a specific order. They would call me mad and lock me in padded rooms.
I’ll never really know if it was right to part ways. I think of him from time to time and I wonder who he is now. Is he still that same person who was my best friend, or is the man he has become someone different entirely? I don’t regret those years, or the ones that have followed. I’m not sure if life has turned out exactly how I’d hoped it would after I kissed him that last time and he turned away. What I do hope now, however, is that he is happy. Because I love him in some way still, and that’s been true since the day I walked away. I hope he is happy with the way the sky looks when he lays his head back.
I can close my eyes and the reams of paper that the story of my life stands starkly on flow through my mind. I can slow it down and inspect this and that. I can speed it up to avoid things. I can ponder over the way the ink fell and what the story might be like if it had been different. I can even look at the pages that lie ahead, waiting for the stab of the pen, with concern. I guess I can worry about those pages. I guess I can be afraid. I could try to control the pen that wants to flow on its own with fancy strokes and flourishes.
It would be silly.
The way the stars in the sky arrange themselves in a predictable and yet uncontrollable fashion is a beautiful thing. Every night they show up just the way they are supposed to, and they don’t need me to worry about it, or wonder if they are doing it right.
They end up where their paths intend them to, and that is that.
Like a stone falling into cool, deep waters, effortlessly.