I grab my son’s arm and drag him to the register. “You have my wallet, we’ve been waiting for you. You held up this nice lady,” I scold him. The “nice lady” doesn’t hear me and/or can’t speak English but I smile at her anyway and say, Lo siento. She smiles back. Even though it’s busy as fuck in the store.
My son, having wandered off with my cash just before we got rung up. LE SIGH. These days though despite misbehavior (mine! I mean) I don’t feel murderous rage. I can stop right where I stopped, which was too far. Then I can apologize. And even these episodes are rare. And when they happen I don’t loathe myself. Mostly. I just dust off and try again.
The cashier is a young white man and he’s not quite right. He’s on something. He takes a long time ringing me up, then un-ringing me because they don’t have fancy registers that can do a postpone, then ringing me back up again. “Next time you should hang on to your wallet,” he tells me as a parting shot. Like seriously I am old enough to be his mother and he’s giving me a PRO TIP on family life.
I stop, my hands full of bags and kids and my afternoon just packed with errands on a payday (for everyone else) Friday. “Thank you for the suggestion,” I say clearly, but in a completely neutral tone. I am not going to mention my internal monologue.
It’s been rough these last couple days. I’ve been swallowed up by something. Tonight my son comes in where I’m in the sewing room, where I’m finishing something up. He’s packed with suitcase and all, in a fedora and a blazer and his long blonde hair and he’s off to stay the night somewhere besides with me. He and his sister are catching up to me in height and from where I sit he has to lean down. He puts his arms around me and I start to cry. Just so you know, I cry about twice a year. So Nels says, “I’m sorry, mama. I won’t stay the night anywhere for a month after this.” (he pronounces it, monff). “No Nels,” I tell him, “You gotta go and stay any time you want, it’s important. I’ll be okay.”
I don’t feel like I’m going to be okay. I haven’t felt well the last few days. Indescribable fatigue, like tired in my blood. My faithful readers know I’ve written about this before, over the years. And I’ve sought many kinds of medical help and even made some major life changes. But still it returns. My bloodwork always comes up perfect and my physicals do too. What is wrong? I don’t know. I get sleep. I eat. I don’t get it. I don’t know where it is or what it stems from but it when it surfaces it is quite debilitating.
I’m not as rugged as I have come to expect of myself. Things are getting to me. The news of the mother who lost her children on Staten Island, the details and the whole story, it’s been like a personal nightmare I can’t shake. I keep picturing what that would feel like, the moment they were swept away. Screaming for help and no one comes to aid, doors shut and lights off, spending the night alone and tortured. Then the agonizing wait for two days, fearing the worse. I am tortured by this. You know that cry twice a year thing? Well I get this twisted up over something about as often as that, too. Something’s up, I don’t know what.
In the meantime I can meditate, cook, clean, sew. Make my husband a pot of tea and listen to my children’s hopes and dreams. I can do all that. I won’t fall off the earth.