bed

I love my bed. It isn’t a big deal and can’t bear the weight of description but it is a bed and quite useful, chiefly for sleep but also for hiding. When I am in bed I inhabit a different state, like a principality inside a country – like the Vatican. My phone and laptop are turned off and there is quiet inside my own house even if the neighbors make an ungodly amount of noise.

But mostly it comes back to hiding, to the meaning of Easter break always including a parent who will show up at my doorstep with a frightened and confused child because the school, amazingly, was closed for the holidays that were announced a year in advance so obviously the next quite logical step was to hunt down any and all teachers at their private residences and assume one of them will care of a kid or two.

I can’t speak as to the exact circumstances of Havana’s youth, but she hides excellently. As if the entire species of cat were being hunted.

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stomach virus

The degree to which I am sick with a stomach virus is directly inverse to the amount of generosity I can summon. For the children? Oh come on they’re children, I didn’t say I became an ogre. For their parents?

I feel like a southerner of the bad dental hygiene variety when someone approaches his porch.

dreams

The line between my sleeping life and waking life is not as clearly delineated as I would wish it to be – which is to say that, among other things, my dreams are of work and are entirely too vivid. Not vivid in the sense of colour-drenched watercolours, like some dreams are, but vivid in that they are perfectly plausible extensions of my waking life.

A little too plausible; I find myself carrying out actions I was assigned in real life and by now you know where this is going. Need to fill out that time sheet? Dream-me did it in like, five dream minutes. Need to get food colouring for the epic sugar cookie day? Dream-me is giving you a thumbs up.

And while this sort of thing might make charming blog fodder and lead to pithy hipster discussions (“It’s as if part of yourself wants to start fulfilling what only you can give yourself.”), in the throat-clearing real world it would only net me really suspicious side glares, at best.

hate

“I hate you,” I said, before I could stop myself. “Do you, Lola?” he asked me. “Of course I do! I hate you so much I feel my pulse rise when I look at you and my stomach tightens and – ” I looked down at my arm “and the hairs on my arms stand up, and – ” I bit my lip. He came over to me and looked at my arm, turning it slightly in the light. I don’t have much arm hair and what I do have is thin and blonde and not really visible. But it felt like it stood up, visible or no. He sat down and smiled faintly, and I noticed for the first time that he’s beginning to get lines around his eyes, not smile creases or crinkles but fine little lines. Wrinkles.

And suddenly he looked old, and tired, and lonely.

loving Lola

I think that the guys I know – and this isn’t so much a well-formed thought as a sort of hazy notion – really like me so long as they think they can save me. Or buy me. The latter is easier to tackle because it’s a transaction, something nearly everyone can understand. Can you get a human through a transaction? It would appear so. Lola? No. Not only ‘no’, but ‘of course and obviously no’, right? I mean, don’t all of you, my dearly beloved readers, feel the same way? Can’t I assume we’re like-minded to a certain extent? After all, you’re blogging, and last time I checked, it wasn’t on ‘swag’.

Maybe that’s too broad and simple. Everyone I know and have known laughs at the non-protaganists in stories like ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Look at those money-grubbing wenches. Ha. Then I find myself telling a story about clear-cut asshole-ness – when I say clear-cut I mean it: take, say, a lawyer, and say he was, well, doing work with your company but he preferred to do all his business with you, and you think innocuous, and then suddenly he’s asking you to bend over his desk so he can look down your shirt. And there’s a humming sound in your head, and probably the blood is rushing to it, and probably I looked red as a lobster because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. “Are you going to cry?” he asked me. No, I thought. I am deciding between using the stapler that is closer to me than to you or – no, I’ve been a pacifist all my life. Why did I even think that?

Then I tell this story, which I find simple, which the director found simple, to the girls, the women I know, and they’re horrified, outraged, until I get to the heir-to-vast-wealth part. And they make a little sound in the back of their throats that sounds like ‘oh,’ and they tell me that maybe he didn’t mean it. Maybe he didn’t know better? Maybe the progeny of the very wealthy grew up differently, see the world differently.

And how is that okay? How is it charming or cute in the least?

Or is this one of those things that somewhere along the line everyone else seems to have learned? Everyone else but me.

break

I’m so tired of being a teacher. I’m on break and I never want break to end. I shouldn’t have to dread going back to work, not in a deeply my-soul-is-cringing type of way.

Oh I know – the work itself. The young minds. Trust me – I know. I’m explaining in shorthand and I know that too but I feel the visceral ebb of time and my break is almost over and I can’t stand it being over.

I guess I’m tired of humiliation, but maybe everyone feels that way.

for sale

“I’m not for sale,” I said, feeling as if I were turned upside down, standing on my head, and maybe also blind. “Never met a woman that said she was,” he replied, matter of fact, no venom. “But everyone has a price.”

“I don’t.” He was watching me, sizing me up, as it were, and he was holding a very important file. If I don’t say what he wants me to, right this moment, he will close that manila file upon itself and the papers inside will be shut up as securely as if they were buried fathoms below ground. And what will become of me. He closed the file. “What will become of me?” I asked, not intentionally but unable to keep the question unspoken. “I don’t know,” he said, smiling. I thought he looked slightly smug.

In the time since then I’ve relived the moment, and whenever I find myself back there, standing in the shadow of my own skin, I tell myself I would have made a different decision. I should have tried to broker peace. I should have – I could have – in retrospect, it’s a little too facile to point out the flaws.

And besides I know – despite knowing the outcome, despite the carnage that followed – I would always do the same thing, no matter how many times I could theoretically click my heels and return to that decision. I would always turn on my heel and walk out of that office, head spinning and blood roaring in my ears. It was as assured a decision as walking into a freight train – and probably as fair of a fight.

My dignity will be scant comfort one day, I know, if I have no more home. What will I do – or as I asked him, what will become of me?

copycat

“How long do you think before there are other things on the blog web, other Chronicles?” the director asked me. I was staring down into my bowl of soup – I save my introspective moments for when the children have left for the day, or are sleeping. Children don’t deserve to have to wonder why someone is staring into space. Or the bottom of alphabet soup. Should be called Alphabet Mush. I thought.

“The blog web?” I considered making a joke about running that through my ‘old person translator mechanism-machinery’, but thought better of it.

“Where people have their blogs. I think people are going to start copying you and making other titles with the word ‘Chronicles’ because you know, it sounds really good.” I pulled a part of my hair perennially sticking out from my well-intentioned ponytail. “Like the way the moms copy the way you dress,” she continued, moving gallons of finger paint into the shelving. The outside world has no idea how much finger paint our school goes through in a given period of time – a month, say.

“It makes me uncomfortable,” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say, because it did, because it does.