Rice in a glass canister sits on the crumb-spread counter, waiting to be cooked. Raw chicken waits in the refrigerator. Tomatoes have been chopped and left on the cutting board. Night’s more than fallen. The television blasts kid shows – has been doing it all day from sunup to sundown. Bed sheets should be changed, the floors should be mopped, and the carpets should be vacuumed. Homework’s not quite done. Dishes fill the sink. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes. Clutter fills most corners, corners and tables and chairs, clutter that looks mountainous. Shoes, toys, cooking utensils, water bottles, paper, envelopes, a sweater, shirts, books, pillows, throw blankets, DVD’s, CD’s, a State Bar Identification card on my desk that says, “Inactive.” The children clash in the back bedroom. The husband’s just called, a mile away, returning from a doctor’s appointment. Yet another $175 spent to fix the oldest. The younger kids need baths. D will be aggravated when he comes home and finds me. Finds the mess.
The computer screen stares at me and I think that when the children finally get to sleep I will climb up on a stool and get the tequila down to drink. Maybe I’ll throw in the last Vicodin for that little extra boost.
I’m so sleepy, so tired, so bone tired, I can barely type the words out. The heavy weight of depression has hit me like it’s done before, knocking me on my ass. Keeping me flat on my back like a dissected frog – hands and legs and innards pinned and tagged.
The stress of the kids’ challenges has finally gotten to me. Everything depends on me and D to keep it together. Every day. All I think is that tomorrow I have to turn in a test to be copied for the students for Monday. The test is on my laptop, incomplete. The test reminds me I also have to prepare for lectures next week. More steep mountains to navigate, drainage of the little energy I have. My shoulder is killing me. Nothing takes away the pain – I made another appointment with the orthopedic doctor.
I had lunch with my sister today for her birthday. I was late getting to her house to baby sit her littlest one – not a perfect child, unlike her other two. I secretly am happy. I swallow that horrible thought. Swallow back my tears. When we go to lunch, we’re slow at eating, and I can’t think of things to say, and I have to rush off, but forget it’s a birthday lunch and leave just enough money to pay for my portion of the bill. I feel like an idiot on the way home. A cheap idiot.
The music plays and D is angry at me. He wants help getting the kids to eat. I bypass the rice. I heat up frozen chicken wings and stick frozen veggies in the microwave. I don’t eat. D and J already ate fast-food. So bad for D. I don’t care at the moment. I don’t eat. I return to the computer. I play “mommy and honey” with M. She chats and feeds me plastic food. I laugh and talk nicely to her.
D is angry that I’m not helping the kids get to bed. I don’t care. The tequila will only make my stomach hurt and the Vicodin won’t do anything because I'd just be taking the one since I don’t have any more left. J slips in and bangs on his drums, making me jump and bitch at him, “Use your soft sticks!”
He switches and bangs away, playing rock songs for me. I tell him how great it is and it is. He slips back out. D is angry at him because he didn’t do his homework like he was asked.
I sigh. Maybe wine will be easier on my stomach. Blech, I never like wine no matter how much I drink. My sister calls and asks me to go to dinner tomorrow night but I’m too tired, too weighed down by the depression. Tomorrow I’m going to take M to school so I’ll have the whole day alone but it will go by and I won’t even notice. It will be an instant between taking A and M and J to school and picking them up. The time will slip past me unnoticed. I will wonder why so much quiet time means so little.
I sigh when I hear M screaming again. My shoulder is killing me.
Tonight’s quiet time will go by barely noticed. Midnight is going to come fast and I’m going to hang on to the late night with the most incredible regret of it in the morning when I wake with bags under my eyes and skin that won’t let the makeup stick.
The goddamn depression has come to me and I’m terrified that I’m my mother and that the children will grow to hate me. That my husband will grow to hate me. That I will grow to hate me. I shake away the thought as J plays with the soft sticks, as he tries to keep a beat. I’m going to get up now, get up and get the kids to bed. Forget the bath. They're playing a chasing game and the thought of catching them exhausts me.
I hear D - he's at the office door and is saying nothing.
I’ll lay down with M in her little pink bed and we’ll just lie quietly until she falls asleep. How sweet it will be, how restful. How nice to hide in the dark room waiting for quiet time.