Automatic

I’m on the cusp of something.  I sit numbly, on the edge of my chair, watching my three year old “put on a play.”  Everything is muted and, as if she were far away, I watch her peel stickers off a door and stick them on a window.  She knows this is naughty but continues to do it because it’s part of the play.  She expects me to admonish her.  I do nothing.  My eyes are drawn to the couch – our “nice couch.”  Cushions are deflated and sagging toward the middle.  There is wear on the piping that surrounds each cushion.  The rug is crooked, there are broken crayons in every corner. I look down at my pants, the same workout pants I’ve worn for three days in a row now.  There is flour dust on them as well as baby spit up.  My head itches.  I can’t remember when I last took a shower.

Suddenly I am broken out of my preoccupation by the sound of the baby crying.  I run up the stairs, grabbing the railing as I go, my hand gripping something sticky – the piece of dough I gave the three year old earlier.  I wipe it on my pants and run up the stairs to pick up the baby, then race back downstairs where my daughter has now pulled out every glittery pipe cleaner and is laying them strategically around the room.  Again, it’s part of the play she’s putting on.  I can hardly bring myself to care.  We’re surrounded by laundry baskets and single socks.  My textbooks call to me, I’m overwhelmed by the work ahead; can’t bring myself to break it down into manageable increments.  Nothing is ever finished.  I take a moment to get existential and wonder if accomplishment really matters. My gut flip flops.  I’d say I’m floating above myself watching my physical body go through the motions, but I feel too heavy to float.

I can’t quite touch on my emotions other than the sense of irritation you’d get from a Brillo pad scratching across your skin.  I’m tempted to spiral, to ask myself if this is really the life I had imagined.  I want to call myself Sisyphus and talk about metaphors: slippery slopes and all that.  I want to feed the drama.  I’m not sure if I’m physically tired or mentally tired or both.  I’m going through the motions.

My daughter asks me a question.  I begin to answer but can’t come up with the all the words.  Instantly, I think of dementia; death.  I am terrified.

Tomorrow will be better.

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