Winter mocks her.
Despondency settles heavily on her brow like a sinus headache.
The steady drip of melting snow trickling off the eaves is just that: a trick. It will snow again. She knows this to be true.
Today’s roadway slush will freeze tonight into alien landforms. Walking outdoors is treacherous; slick ice with sloppy, wet, grayish-brown sludge on the offensive, ready to take her down. She despises shopping malls – if one more person suggests walking in one, she will scream. Besides, there is no time. She hasn’t seen her younger child since an early supper on Wednesday before he left for scouts, his shaggy unkempt hair incongruent with the neatness of the Boy Scout uniform. She lies awake late at night, trying to clear her mind and relax so she can sleep. Eventually, sleep comes – she suspects it arrives with a cast iron skillet like a cartoon fishwife.
Groggy mornings find her struggling (but not really – why fight the sleep that came so slowly?) to awaken. The children are already at school. She forces herself to go through the motions: shower, get dressed. She looks longingly at fleece lounge pants – too warm for sleep, they would be perfect right now. But she must leave for work and they are too informal for office attire, even for her. Wearing no make-up, she chooses nicer yoga pants that she hopes look like dress pants.
At work, she fakes happiness in a voice doesn’t belong to her. The more she accomplishes the further behind she feels. How important, really, is that particular task? Would anyone notice if it was done or left undone? She stays late at the office in a futile attempt to catch up, making mistakes that cost her more time.
She pulls into the driveway and turns the key, shutting off the engine. Life at home continued without her, of course. The fourteen-year-old has already shut himself in his room for the night. Her place is set at the table, her cold supper portion resting in serving dishes.
Rest. That’s what she craves. So much remains undone in her life: work, appointments. She sighs – and realizes that in the morning shuffle, she failed to take her medication. No wonder she is achy and sad. (There is no exclamation point because one of the forgotten pills is an anti-depressant.) If she takes one now, she will perk up and have trouble sleeping. It is better to wait for morning. Tomorrow is another day.
This post was originally written 4 years ago and left to languish in the “drafts” file. Today simply felt like the right day to set it free.