Thursday, August 30, 2012

metaphor exercise from Chuck @ GMWC

My son says, "I'm hungry." He also says, "There's never any food in your house." He visits me at the end of the month when my food stamps are all used up. He complains that he is fat, that he doesn't feel comfortable in his skin and I say, "Well the next time you come to see me we will hike and swim and ride bikes," except the next time he visits my bike tire is flat. I don't have enough money to fix it. I save the dollars I do have for groceries.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


There is a skunk that lives in the woods behind my neighbor's house. Kids play back there and it's full of junk and once a tree fell from there right onto Sandy's car. Sandy is gone now mostly because she lost her mind and she blamed it on me along way. She took her two obnoxious dogs with her. Kristin, my boss at the house where the girls punched us and spit on us, lives next door. She feeds the skunk. She feeds it cat food. For awhile the skunk lived under the storage box that Barry drove into. He had come by to tell me that Kristin fired him and did I want to go drink. I couldn't because I was living with James by then, although he was off at work that day. So I guess I could have except I didn't want to cheat. So anyway Barry backed into the storage bin and made a big hole and guess what, Bev didn't even notice it for months.
I can smell that skunk in my apartment. The smell is so strong that it makes my lips numb. It makes me think of the skunk cabbage that grew behind one of my childhood homes. It's probably all gone by now and more homes built. And it reminds me of my second husband who was so sensitive to smells. He loved it when I cooked, which I almost never did, and he complained about the ferrets even though I cleaned their cage with bleach every day.

This work was done at The Writer's Center, White River Junction; based on a prompt provided by Joni B Cole.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The First Day

The first day I had no job...except I'm a mom, I've always got a job, but do I, when the kids don't live with me? There's always work to do--walk the dog, do the dishes, make the bed, and those endless dinners. I say I love being a traditional housewife but of course that's a lie. Left to my own devices, I eat jell-o for dinner and watch crime dramas on television, the lists of things I'd planned to accomplish suddenly much too overwhelming.
On the first day of freedom from Cornell, I had scheduled a client so I was the first person to rush away from the big send-off luncheon.
When I quit UCS because David advised it, I walked my dog and felt exhausted by the idea of cleaning his filthy house.
Even now I say I don't have a job, but living is a job. Isn't it? It's work to smile and act nice and comply with the endless social mores. Maybe that's why my favorite fantasy is to live in isolation in a remote corner of Maine or Utah with only my dogs for company.
But I do, of course, work those 16 hours a week, sometimes a few more, and I'm on call 5 nights a week in trade for my apartment. No money, but no expenses either.
In the living room of my free apartment I used to have "Flaming June" hanging over my thrift store couch. Brian and I had that over our bed. But it's not really a living room painting so I've taken it down and now it's in the too-expensive storage unit with boxes of toys my son, too old for, has forgotten about, along with holiday decorations and other things I can't bear to surrender yet.
Brian is gone now and James is his replacement, the latest in a string of husbands. I cling to the idiocy of hope. But I appreciated him last night, snoring naked next to me. I thought in the dark, what's a husband for if not to keep me company in bed? I love touching his belly when he's sleeping. We don't have much--we're mostly respectful and kind to each other--but we do have this sweet intimacy of sleep.