Where have I been? No, really, WHERE have I been?
Sleeping, not-sleeping. Going through the usual motions of mother-wife-teacher-flake, watching t.v. until late, following the elections, digging into Don Quixote, eating leftover candy, picking fleas off Sassy, staring at a picture of the boys when they were 3 and 1 and crawling and making an "oh" expression while in cowboy pajamas and smiling, oh smiling to the point where I want to pick them both up in my arms and never let them go, or grow, going to a shouldn't-have-happened bachelorette party out in the boonies, wondering the point, the punchline, of all THIS.
Kate and Sawyer had sex in a cage! Wheeeee! I wanna be in cage, too!
Driving home from the elementary school the other day, I see in the side-view mirror M's reflection as she leans in her booster seat, leans with her still-tiny and round face out the window. I ask her, "Honey, why do you do that, put your face outside the window like Sassy?"
Not a second passes, no time to think, she says, "I like the wind. It makes me happy."
A few days later, as usual, D comes home in the afternoon and this one day he finds me on the bed in our bedroom, stretched out, pillows behind my head. I've got the Playstation going and I'm slashing away at creatures in Final Fantasy XII and he just eyes me, shaking his head at my laziness. The younger kids are running around in the backyard and screaming like mad, the kitchen is a mess, homework isn't getting done, late sun rays are coming in through the sliding glass door, dust, dust is dancing in the lit air, and he says, "Why are you doing this when there's so much else to do?"
I smile, wiggle my toes, stretch like a cat, pause the game, "I like it, I like the tossing of work to the wind, the noise of it - it makes me happy."
Tonight, take-home exams were due. I lectured, assigned an in-class project. The students must have been anxious to go because they all sped through the assignment and the class emptied out early, near 9:30 p.m., a whole half-hour early. When I locked the doors and began the walk to my car, two young women came up to me with worn tests in their hands and a story about a car and a cell phone and a brother who'd disappeared with keys, and they were huffing and flustered and grinning hopefully, asking if I'd still accept the test. I laughed, calling them, "Lucky girls, girls born under a lucky star."
They giggled and were so thankful that they'd caught me, that I took their papers, that I gave them a break. They hustled off, huddled in the chill air, disappearing into the still-busy parking lot, into the darkness, and I climbed into my car. The radio turned on as I turned the key. Lucky, I thought, to have made someone's night.
On Saturday, I talked to a veterinarian technician. Like an expert she massaged the haunches of a once-abandoned pit bull terrier, and told me how much dogs like that. I said I’d be sure to do that to Sassy, massage those rear muscles of hers, or the shoulders. She’d love that, I said.
“Oh yeah, isn’t that good? Isn’t she just the best doggie ever?” The dog stretched and rolled over to her side, in heaven.
The tech was beautiful, long, blond, straight hair, just past the shoulders, bright brown eyes. She sat twisted, her bare feet turned up slightly, the piercing in her navel glinting in the low light of the low-ceilinged room. Music thumped in the background and women chatted away, laughing, glasses clinking against the other. A party.
“Should I give you my e-mail, so I can get the DVD?”
“Oh yeah," she said, "just put it on the evaluation.”
“Great, yeah, cool.”
“You want to dance some? You never did try those moves.”
“No, dancing on a stripper’s pole is just…not my thing. But you guys did an awesome job, especially teaching us the lap dance. The sexy, drunk walk was good, too. But the lap dance...that was really good…ooohhh…and the push-up, the dragging-your-boobs-on-the-floor-with-your-ass-in-the-air push-up. Nice! Beautiful!”
“Yes, very sexy. And I agree…slow is sexy.”
“Slow is the key…want the last penis-candy?”
“No…you keep it!”
“Love the condom!”
“Isn’t that just a kick? Ohhhh…puppy…you want another rub? I just love animals.”
"I'm sure you do," I smiled.
Strange, we’re not too far off the end of the semester. I’m anxious for the ending again. Looking forward to the long winter break. I suppose I don’t really want to work. That’s probably the truth. Raising the kids is job enough – raising myself…job enough.