I am on the road with my older daughter, hoping that all the time in the car together might bring some reparation to our tense and strained relationship. Instead, we bicker over where to eat and quickly gather heady momentum toward more hurtful territory. Then, with tremendous hostility, my daughter pops in ear buds and keeps her eyes focused on her phone. And poof – I am alone in the car on a trip for someone else.
I am alternately grateful to have a quiet moment during which to process my many layers of mother guilt and saddened that there is no one to whom I can point out roadside absurdities or wonders I spot along the highway. After a while, though, I’ve been stewing in my own juices too long and some of the most homely roadside destination start to look pretty alluring – places where I imagine myself abandoning my motherly duties and hiding out as a crusty hermit – at least until my old dead body is discovered several months after my demise. After we pass a few broken rusty shacks, the idea sours and instead I begin fantasizing that it would be better to hide in plain sight – in a thriving bustling metropolis – where I admit that I could still possibly die without being noticed for at least a few weeks. But that could be a less smelly option with the potential for some good jazz concerts in between.
As though I might care about my hygiene when I’m dead.
And every day
I wake up and
I love you
And sometimes I wish I could stop.
She stood in the very long line to the bathroom and pondered whether she could sneak into the “handicap” stall.
After all, some days she did consider her gender to be a handicap …. of sorts.
But no, she waited instead behind the transgender woman for her turn at the “female” stalls.
I read the obituary – which I found online
“She was devoted, loving and wise beyond her years”
a wonderful stranger had died – not the woman I was –
separated from me by a letter and a few years,
typos of the hastily written in mourning.
I wanted the truth, shortcomings and flaws,
plainly spoken, not tinged with guilt or regret
but even in death, I would remain a caricature.
one entire hour of her insomnia
debating which time of day was best for exercising. Only to conclude in
her second hour of insomnia
that she really had no time for exercising. Which led her back to
her original sleep problem:
pants – and a budget – that were too tight.
Hence, exercise. She would need to be well rested of course – so she would wait
after the insomnia faded
And what – just suck in her gut until then?
The thought made her toss and turn.
you know how ‘all the world’s a stage’?
yes, well – she was not one of the players
no, she was more like a stagehand,
making the whole production run smoothly for everyone else –
namely, her children and the dog
and by proxy, therefore, also the babysitter
against whom she invariably developed harsh feelings