Saturday, June 6, 2015
500 Words, Day 18 -- Round and Round and Round We Spin
She scrubs the inside of the microwave. Someone had heated a plate of spaghetti without covering it and now there is a corona of splattered sauce around the platen. Her sponge goes round and round inside the microwave. Her thoughts go round and round the inside of the problems she is trying to solve. They chase their tails like the puppy that her daughter brought home, unbidden, without permission, far too young to leave its mother. She has come to love that puppy, effortlessly and without rancor. Of course she would fall in love with it, another dervish in the chaos that her household has become.
She looks around what used to be her beautiful house. She has returned for the few days that her husband is traveling for work. Someone needs to be here for her son. Someone adult, a responsible party. Who will take charge of things. Who will call the police and tell them that there is a man living in a rusted-out Cadillac in her cul-de-sac, who has been forbidden to enter the house, but who comes in anyway, bidden by the daughter, to lie around doing bong hits all day when the rest of them are at work, at school. "Call us when you are home and you know that he is actually there," the dispatcher tells her when she calls from work. "We can't do anything unless he is there when you are. Even then it would be a stretch." But he is living in a car, she screams inside her head. He is living in a car in the nice cul-de-sac where she clings to the shreds of the middle-class lifestyle that she used to make fun of but now desperately defends.
She's a light sleeper, really light. At the moment she is trending toward the manic side of of the bipolar spectrum. Now it helps her stay vigilant for the squeaky door, the stealthy tread. One night, she woke to hear her daughter just a few feet away, rummaging in her desk, searching for a hidden set of forbidden car keys. A shouting match ensued, a scuffle. She ended up hurling herself to the floor with her back to the bedroom door, preventing egress. Her husband slept through it until the very end when he got up and drove her daughter where she had been stealing the keys to go.
That was the time she left for real. She had left twice before but had always come back by dark, like a child, her tail between her legs, mortified, penitent. She left three times and the third time she stayed gone. Friends had finally convinced her that her instincts were right. That despite all the condescension and head games, the gaslighting, the bewildering denial, despite all of that, she was really right and had been all along.
The situation was intolerable and bizarre beyond measure. It should have ended months ago. If he had listened to her, given her credence, if he hadn't dismissed her. If he hadn't taunted her with suggestions to visit her shrink and consider changing her meds, because "that's always something to try when you get like this." Now, the cold comfort of "I told you so" is too weak to describe the way she feels. She wanted to grab him by the ears and shake him. What. The. Fuck. Is. Wrong. With. You. Why aren't you outraged by what is happening? Your daughter is bringing her feral, drug-dealing boyfriend home to sleep with him in your house. Do something! She mentally pounded him with her fists.
And he would tell her to do something herself, if she felt so strongly about it.
So she did. She left.
She left him to clean up the filthy mess she had allowed him to make. And came back to clean it up when she saw that he would not.
The zipper of a suitcase being opened sounds different than when it is being shut.
Posted by Mina Klonopina at 11:20 AM