Last night, I flopped myself into bed at 8:30 after prayers with the girls and final tuck-ins. It’s so hard to get them to stop with the beautiful sunshine streaming through windows, and I felt bone spent weary.
Michael kissed me good night and left for Home Depot to get a replacement toilet handle. The crack I’d made in the old one last week with some inexplicable power flushing had finally done its work.
My body ached, and I felt the residual frustration of justice buttons pushed by adults who should know better and remembered how I’d been like a character in a movie with all the one-liners and the I-could-have-told-them’s flowing from my lips into the kitchen, hoping the girls couldn’t hear me as they played in the backyard.
I’d been trying to hold the frustrations down, and they’d made their way out in ugly fashion, and even though I’d said to Michael, “I’m just mad, and it’s not your fault,” I’d closed the door behind me without saying good-bye to him anyway.
I walked and the air felt thick and hot, and I tried to imagine burdens falling from shoulders, but they clung. I saw people gathering on porches and wondered if I looked as mad as I felt. I saw a dad from school riding his bike and longed to not see another person I knew.
Then I heard my name, sun shining in my eyes. And this friend and her sweet little girl walking on the bike thoroughfare, they are navigating through some first-class pain and fear, and they were so dear and gracious — their words so gentle — that I left feeling a shift to my perspective and questioned what I’m entitled to anyway.
So much so that when I came home and dinner was ready, I felt some kind of thankful. And when we sat around the table, I had enough energy to initiate talk of the day’s cherries and pits and not grow too frustrated that the girls kept talking over each other.
Last night with the girls in bed, I lay under the cool green sheet, white curtains fluttering with the night’s breeze, and tried to feel the moment’s peace.
With parts of the day still holed up in my head, neck, hips, I closed my eyes. From down the hall, the girls’ voices fluttered like birds. They spoke over the lullaby music they’ve wanted most nights since Sici was a baby, each including the other in their lessons of words and math and kindness, and I closed my eyes and tried to remember the holiness of each word.
This morning, I can’t yet sit on the couch. The pee-soaked cushion is almost dry, and I’ll put the cover back on later this morning, so I sit in the small chair — the one I hardly ever sit in unless company’s come. The window behind me is open, and the birds call, and I hear faint clangs and churns of a garbage truck several blocks away.
The smell in the air is warm toast, soil from the freshly-planted pots on the front porch and hints of woodsy syrup.
White curtains flutter around my shoulders, nearly making their way around my head, then flattening behind my back and it’s like the blank page of new mercies unrolling.