All tagged parental units
I don’t remember a mouth. I remember disembodied words about: pain, impossibility, depression. I remember a box of tissues slapped across the table because it felt good to reject something. I remember the feeling of being a specimen to observe and pity, like the hard, dead frogs I was forced to rip apart and comment on in science class.
When I’m not avoiding the cafeteria at lunchtime, I’m in the far stall of the girls’ second-floor bathroom making diagrams and graphs and pie charts. My favorite are Venn diagrams. You know, the ones where there are two (sometimes more) circles and they cross over for a certain amount of space and that space means something important?
The dryer emits a shrill, rodent-style squeak that precedes a period of silence. The sound resembles the screech of a child before refusing to speak without intervention by specialists. Because the dryer is unlike our son, who requires a regimen of speech therapy in order to be appreciated by fellow mammals, I think we should stop paying pros and purchase a new one.
The smell of the powder they release in a pouf on our faces starts the alchemy, my third favorite scent. While getting our makeup done, Dave and I usually talk about our kids. He was such a kind man and his priorities were clear. His family came first and fucking came second.
My family huddled around me as I armed the flare gun and shot it into the sky. My wife's stomach was the size of a ripe cantaloupe.
This Motherfucker, he turned his face toward me, with his slightly receding hairline and his upper-lip sweat, and he sneered at me. His face melted from well-to-do into feral beast. “Listen lady,” he said, “I have as much right—”
“They’re not a lady,” my daughter interrupted.
Upon parental request, surgeons attach a fifth leg to your horse body. They sew it into your chest so that you have three front legs and two back legs. Your blood fuses and accepts the extra limb. It is invisible to the rest of the world but it is there.
Each question got closer to the point: Was she a bad mother? Phyllis couldn’t think of any traditions. They didn’t go to church. They celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving, sometimes colored Easter eggs, but those seemed too generic to be considered cultural traditions.
I know the knife is going to enter my child when I feel time slow. I know there will be an accident. The spatula slipping a little under the cutting board, the placing of the pan down on the pot holder, the levering of the spatula, the launching of the blade, Japanese-make, little dimples in the steel, loosed by the dumb circumstance of the world that got all of us to right here.
She wasn't allowed to have candy, so she kept it hidden in her top dresser drawer. Her mother made her dress in church clothes whenever company would come, and each time Connie would sneak a taste. It became her silent sacrament.
My mother got knocked up in New York City, 1960, and never let me forget it: how she’d sweat standing still, her belly swollen and sore; how the rats would taunt her, perched on the stovetop, finding crumbs to eat no matter how well she cleaned. She soon learned not to bother. She moved to Florida before I could form memory. I never got around to moving myself. By thirty, I knew I wasn’t one for change; by fifty, it was best I stay to help out.
When I get older, I’m going to live alone. Not some little kid “no boys allowed” treehouse bullshit. Just alone. No boyfriend, no husband. Just me. I won’t need anyone.That’s my mom’s problem, that she needs this Jeff and all the others. It’s like she thinks she’ll stop being real if someone isn’t touching her.
Peter left the house as I was slipping a screwdriver into the flaked hinge of an oyster, bracing myself against the corner between the stove and the wall. He yelled goodbye as the screen door slammed shut.
The obstetrician is a lesbian too, or at least you think she is.“You’re almost forty,” she says while she examines the paperwork you filled out in the waiting room. “Have you been trying to get pregnant?” Tell her that your husband is a lady and that you’ve been trying a lot, with no luck.
“Maybe we should stop,” I said, not wanting to meander further down unfamiliar little mud roads. But my mother misunderstood. Her lips clamped, and her butt shifted on the driver’s seat. The car moved on. Pebbles sent flying by rubber wheels hit the underside of the old Proton Saga and clanked gratingly.
My brother arrives from Chicago with a mustache and a toothache. From a reclined position on our living room couch he enumerates the benefits of being able to walk to the grocery store, the bar, library, to the doctor, the train...
Sometimes I drive from downtown Grand Rapids to the suburbs. I like to return to the house I grew up in. At 7767 Hidden Ridge Court, there is a two-story brick home with a white balcony. Hidden Lake Estates is an affluent neighborhood. There is an association. Everyone has the same brown mailbox
Dad doesn’t understand me anymore, so he volunteered us both for the last remaining slots on the Python Patrol. That’s what the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission calls it, and each month it hosts a free workshop to help people in the Everglades identify and capture the python population mushrooming in our own backyards.
I sniffed the right armpit crease of the polyester “Japanese” robe I was given, wondering how many had felt its itchy gold stitching on their bare skin before I had. From the conflicting musks, I guessed at least one woman and two men. I sniffed again. Three men. Four, even. Taking turns glancing at the clock and scanning the empty room, I was overwhelmed by the sensation of air sweeping my knees, cradling them cynically. I felt dry cracker dust fall in my cleavage from the stale matzoh I was eating and dusted it off with my pinky before Agatha sidled in, holding two long PVC pipes.
She fell off the pier at Castle Island and spent four days in the hospital with tubes in her lungs. My nana clutched her rosary beads so tightly she bruised her hands. Neither of them talk about it. I once asked Mom why she still loved Castle Island so much when it had almost killed her. We were a little ways off from that same pier, plucking hermit crabs out of the sand, letting them scuttle across our palms and plop back into the Atlantic.