Friday:Bade goodbye to The Man, who was driving to LA with his brother for their cousin’s wedding.Went swimming in the morning, took a long walk in the afternoon, sent an angry email in the early evening.Finished the day by barbequing for the kids and baking cookies.
Saturday:Spent the day with Things One, Two and Three, going to the park, Target, out to lunch, and the “Community Garden.”Was interrogated by the head garden woman and asked the same question (“so, whose garden are you tending again?”) several times (no word yet on whether the garden woman’s application to the FBI was approved yet).
Called Friend Two and left random, angry, slightly unhinged messages about the fact that he wasn’t coming over to relieve my motherhood-ennui that night.Took the Things to the park, yet again, for a picnic dinner, and then took them home to play in the yard.
Exchanged strange and surly phone messages with Friend Two.Called Friend One and requested her to say “Macaroni” into my phone at inappropriate times.Put the Things to bed.Decided that I was being crazy and let Friend Two come over.Mixed gin and tonics and cooked blintzes with Friend Two and discussed the difficulties of parenthood, and watched Friend Two nod knowingly, even though he has no children.
Felt much better.
Sunday:Woke up suddenly to the sentence, issued by Thing Two, “we decided to have a restaurant and cook breakfast!”Ran to the dining room and was relieved that the only foods this restaurant served were toast, orange juice, cereal bars, and yogurt.The toast had ½” of butter on each piece and was salted, but at least the house was still intact and no children were missing appendages.Cleaned. Disinfected. Ate a piece of butter-toast.
Took the Natives to the grocery store and then the ice cream parlor.Stopped by the “Community Garden,” and was refused entrance by two women, as I did not know the combination to the lock. Indicated that I was there to water and weed a friend's garden. Was made aware of the growing vegetable stealing, and told that I could be a tomato thief. Responded by delivering a speech on the meaning of “community” in the phrase “community garden." Told that I was likely responsible for the degradation of “community” in the “community garden” via alleged "tomato thievery." Declared a jihad on smarmy hippies and coined the phrase “tomato nazi.”Felt vindicated.Ordered expensive coffee to celebrate.
Took Things One, Two and Three to the video store, and argued over the various artistic merits of Spongebob Square Pants and Barbie: Rapunzel.Exercised my veto power and rented The Wizard of Oz.At the counter, compromised and also rented Brother Bear and Angelina Ballerina.
Grilled chicken kebabs and slices of sunburst squash for dinner.Only felt a tiny twinge of guilt when telling the Things that the squash was really Eggo waffles.Gave baths and washed hair.Read books to the children and kissed their clean, damp hair.
Called Friend One and made jokes about tomato nazis, hippies who drive Suburbans and all things Oregon.
Thalia Fields is under a grey ceiling of clouds,
just under the turbulance, with anesthetics
dripping from an I.V. into her arm,
and the flight surgeon says The shrapnel
cauterized as it traveled through her
here, breaking this rib as it entered,
burning a hole through the left lung
to finish in her back, and all of this
she doesn’t hear, except perhaps as music—
that faraway music of people’s voices
when they speak gently and with care,
a comfort to her on a stretcher
in a flying hospital en route to Landstahl,
just under the rain at midnight, and Thalia
drifts in and out of consciousness
as a nurse dabs her lips with a moist towel,
her palm on Thalia’s forehead, her vitals
slipping some, as burned flesh gives way
to the heat of the blood, the tunnels within
opening to fill her, just enough blood
to cough up and drown in, and Thalia,
she sees the shadows of people working
to save her, but she cannot feel their hands,
and she cannot hear them any longer,
and when she closes her eyes
the most beautiful colors rise in darkness,
tangerine washing into Russian blue,
with the droning engine humming on
in a dragonfly’s wings, the island palms
painting the sky an impossible hue
with their thick brushes dripping in green…
But this is all an act of the imagination,
a means of dealing with the obscenity
of war, what loss there is, the inconsolable
grief, the fact that Thalia Fields is gone,
long gone, about as far from Mississippi
as she can get, 10,000 feet above Iraq
with a blanket draped over her body
and an exhausted surgeon in tears,
his bloodied hands on her chest, his head
sunk down, the nurse guiding him
to a nearby seat and holding him as he cries,
though no one hears it, because nothing can be heard where pilots fly in black-out, the plane
like a shadow guiding the rain, here
in the droning engines of midnight.
The elementary school where Things One and Two attend the third and first grades, The First Name School is a lovely historic building that serves at least one vegetarian meal a day, and where everyone, teachers and students alike, call each other by their first names.
Our protagonist Terrible Mother is a quick-thinking, smart-mouthed single mother to three kids. She teaches writing at a local college. At all other times, she's writing, cooking, cleaning, or parenting. She managed to complete an MFA in Fiction from the University of Oregon, and is nearly finished with her memoir about single parenthood and one ill-fated road trip.