The weather has belatedly changed. I walked in temperatures cold enough for a wool cap, mittens, and a scarf this morning. By the time I got back, my nose ran like a spigot.
I'd forgotten my iPod, and so I let my mind out for recess. I don't know if this is the beginning of a story or an idea for a story, but this is where my mind went when the whistle blew:
Time is a greased pig. The more I try to capture and subdue the wriggling thing, the more unmanageable it becomes.
Up until menarche my life was a cord stretched taut from birth. That cord has unraveled into three frayed strands, the beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is just past my eleventh birthday, and I’m the only girl in the fifth-grade to have boobs and cramps. Being the odd girl in class is not my biggest problem, but it sure doesn’t help.
The middle is three children and a husband who disappears for days at a time. No one must know, especially the children. Oh God, not the children. I’m taking accounting classes with mere babies at the junior college. The girls, and there are several girls in my classes, do not wear a smidgen of makeup. The hair at their scalps is thick with grease. I want to march them all to the bathroom and shove a bottle of Preal into their hands. The classes are my secret. I almost always have a headache in the middle.
The end is Depends, horrific food, and the constant drone of my roommate’s television. I’m sickeningly healthy, except for mild incontinence. I fear I will live forever. Only two of my children are alive, which confounds me. I haven’t lived that part of the middle years, and I’m not sure I want to. If I’m lucky, I will die before I have to know what happened to Debbie. A mother isn’t supposed to have favorites, but in my middle life, Debbie is the oops child who can do no wrong. Even her hair behaves. No one speaks of my husband. That doesn’t mean he’s dead, but he is not here, and that is a huge relief. He would not have made a nice old man.
I’ve only met one other person who lives out his life in parallel acts. I suppose being odd...