Monday, August 06, 2007


It was too good to be true. In bed before 8:30.

It was too good to be true.


“Your son is awake,” I told Mike coldly.


He's awake.”

And then I was walking. Sandals dove into at the last moment; hair in a ratty ponytail all day, now flapping in messy lumps on my head, coatless in a foggy chill; I was gone.

I headed up the street, aimless and determined, cursory nods to the men with their heads in the hood of a car. Furious.

Anger. They skipped that topic in Mommy n Me. It never appeared on the whiteboard signs outside the classrooms with their cheerily painted doors. “Good morning!!! Topic: parallel play. Art: stamps and markers. Glad your here!!!” I could just squash those women. Stuff them whole into cracks in the sidewalk, cracks in my veneer of coping. It wouldn't have to be those women. It could be anyone right now. Anyone. Just give me the smallest reason. The men working on their Buick don't know how easily they got off.

I turn up the hill toward “Watertower Mountain” as my friend's four-year-old calls it. There are stairs snaking steeply upwards in front of me. I have always avoided them like the plague before now; I take them. I haven't been this driven on a walk since I was in labor, but this is more desperate. Much more.

I leave our crummy neighborhood behind and surface in the one with the views, with its own name and fancy cars in wide driveways, where all the dogs get haircuts. The houses almost look inviting, their archways over carved wooden doors, their flowering vines climbing charming half-walls. I want to live somewhere other than my house. These will do.

There are more stairs. I take them too. My throat is burning and I'm out of breath.

I notice a plant stand out at the curb for trash, but I passed it by. This is not about nesting. This is about flight.

Finally, I'm out of places to climb. I circle around and, against my will, begin to descend.

The loop will likely take me 25 minutes. It has to be long enough. I won't face the possibility of returning to a house where my child is awake.

He may have already worn away the fingerprints on my pinky for all the time he's spent rubbing it in an effort to fall asleep over the last umpteen nights, then again in an effort to fall back asleep when he climbs into bed with us in the middle of the night. I have nothing left to give. Once the fingerprints are smoothed out completely, there'll be no way left to identify me. The rest of me has vanished already.


Barbara said...

Sounds familiar. You inspired a blog post at


Anonymous said...

Oh, honey, I am sorry it is so hard right now. Jude

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