Surface Tension

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I notice it while applying a fresh coat of self-pity seated in the corner by the bathtub. The viscosity filling my eyes lends a Monetesque quality to the tiles, but the formation is unmistakable. Yes. A puddle of pee collecting beneath the toilet bowl in a spherical configuration reminiscent of physics lessons on surface tension. It is amazing what prolonged inhalation of commercial cleaning supplies can do to eliminate tension.

“How do you wipe the evolutionary remnants of savage that are embedded so deeply within these creatures?”, I wonder, as I prop said specimens in front of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles playlist. No, I am not staging irony by attempting to correct violent behavior while subjecting them to violent media. That laugh is for another day. But I may have just mentioned violence.

Are pee trickles on toilet seats, dirty socks under coffee tables and half-eaten plates drying on tables artifacts of violence? Or subjective interior design choices? It is violence if I choose to play victim, but how far is the stick up my arse before I make that choice? Have not they who know it all, from The Beatles whispering Let It Be to Elsa yelling Let It Go, been hinting at the obvious all along?

Except, it is not that obvious. I mean “it” is not that obvious. What is “it” that I need to let go of? Stick up butt-hole, pride, parenting opportunities, Facebook time or the skin around my fingers? Listening closely to the lyrics of the songs, besides the chorus, might provide more insight. All of our wisdom must be hidden in song, for I have nothing left to say.

 

 

Clap Your Hands

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It’s been not ten minutes since my shower and seven and a half steps into the morning and my antiperspirant is already losing its battle. A mustache of sweat feeds sunscreen to my lips and shades topple from my asymmetrical nose-bridge. I’ve forgotten a hat to cover up the frizz.

My calves resist all attempts to accelerate and make way for grandmas on bicycles pedaling a summer’s breeze. I’m the itsy bitsy spider minus half the limbs to climb up the concrete hills. A missing thigh gap forces a burning friction against my jeans; could’ve worn shorts if I’d shaved all the fuzz.

I’m twelve minutes late to preschool drop-off. My face looks more fruit than human. My spot at the cafe is decorated with crumbs. My cafe doesn’t believe in air-conditioning. Everything is just as it always is, except me.

It’s not as simple as I don’t give a fuck — it’s that I didn’t really think about giving a fuck, you know? No? Ok, let’s try this again.

You see, there’s a peach galette before me, in a buttery glaze browned to perfection, ready to marry a steamy cappuccino. But I won’t choke with sadness and delight as it disappears down my throat. My left arm is throbbing like an old guitar, but I’m not checking to see if it completes a cardiac circuit. A cacophony of ceramics crash in the kitchen but I’m not thinking of jumping out of the building. I’m not thinking of dying. I’m not thinking of meaning. I’m not thinking.

What if this absence of thought, this annulment of emotions I’ve often labeled apathy, is actually happiness? Happiness has got to be more than a fleeting experience, unlike ecstasy or joy. It must be a steady state, like holding one’s head up the proverbial water, despite the whirlpool and great whites. Sure, you take in a few gulps or can’t feel from neck to toe, but mostly, you’re floating. Happiness must be a weighted average of mostly-s.

That conclusion itself might have driven me to declare happiness as a concept depressing. But my current “ness” is not privy to such dramatic expression. Happiness is anti-climatic and often, like anything wrapped in expectations, disappointing. As I walk away from the edge, I won’t be so outrageous as to claim I’m coming back to life, but (dear Floyd) I do see a distant ship smoke on the horizon.

 

 

Saccharine

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The cafe was screaming with toddlers in superhero t-shirts, mothers dragging feet behind rabid cappuccinos, octogenarians tap-dancing to the newspaper rack and you. You. My eyes found you and the crowds vanished. The whirring of coffee machines and oscillating tongues melted into a distant symphony.

You had spread yourself under an amber glow while my cessation of breathing turned me an unflattering aubergine. If love at first sight does not exist, then existence is meaningless. It is but a film of sugar dust that stands between you and I.

I remind myself that I am a mother to two young boys and a wife; a wife on her knees blurting promises dipped in chocolate that night he walked in on us. Yet, you. You evoke such hunger within me that I can’t stop thinking how sweet it would be to lay my lips on you.

Counting battles is futile when the war is not mine to win. I emptied the change in my pockets and snuck us into a corner, away from the many eyes and tongues of judgement. I devoured you whole, every pore of your being, and succumbed to your decadence. Even as I sit on my guilt, with a film of sugar dust betraying my lips, I know you will not be my last.

Tipsy Toes

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Reason #37 to hit the bottle before dinner: Skipping an afternoon siesta to scrub toilets.

While the debate on drinking and driving is moot, I haven’t heard definitive opinions on walking drunk, so I decided to gather empirical evidence today.

Specimen: Thirty-something female human injected with approximately 17 ounces of Chilean red wine in luteal phase.

Control: None

Observations:

Condition 1: Walking to grocery store

  • Matching clothes is irrelevant.
  • Tummy-tucking is overrated.
  • Chirping of birds is distinguishable by species.
  • Birds are loud.
  • Trees walk into people.
  • Breathing is overrated.
  • Human bladders are inadequate.

Condition 2: At the grocery store

  • Frozen garlic bread looks tasty.
  • Frozen garlic bread is sexy.
  • Existence is pointless without 4 loaves of frozen garlic bread.
  • Public restrooms are proof by example of heaven.
  • Alcohol diminishes germ sensitivity.
  • Hovering is tricky.
  • Checkout clerks in uniform look sexy.
  • Toilet paper rolls with floral prints look sexy.

Condition 3: The walk back home

  • Skydiving is safer than street crossing.
  • 12 pack brews are heavy. Very heavy.
  • Toilet paper rolls with floral prints are heavy. Very heavy.
  • Anything touching the bladder is heavy.
  • A hydrangea bush is useless without a penis.

Conclusion: A single experiment of drunk walking is insufficient to produce statistically significant results. Further testing is required to investigate a hypothesis surrounding its cholesterol-lowering effects in conjunction with consumption of frozen garlic bread and altered perceptions of sexiness.

 

A Salt

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They lapped the bowls clean of yellow rivers weaving estuaries in rice. Sandhya stretched across the counter like a dog at a steakhouse, saliva multiplying in anticipation. Throw me bone, damn it.

“Humph! Daal is too salty today”. Salt. It is always the salt. Always. Attempting to balance it is more dangerous than walking a tightrope across a valley of crocodiles blindfolded. Too little and the food is less palatable than a granola of toothpicks. Too much and you are conspiring to murder.

Salting is not for the weak. It can disintegrate blood-sucking leeches and toss colonizing tea-sippers out of a nation. Bollywood’s hairy-chested swear by the anguish it can unleash upon raw wounds. It can render will-power useless when sprinkled on bars of caramel and chocolate.

Salt of the earth, of our blood, of our tears…fling it backwards for good luck, but hand it over and you’re fucked.

Sandhya drags her feet back to the kitchen, sore from chains tugging at her neck. No matter how hard she reaches, the T-bone will always been a sniff too far away while the juices from her face sizzle on the coal below. A trumpet of belches reverberates from the dining hall. The exhaust roars to life as Sandhya chases her own tail.

 

A Series Of Inconsequential Events

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Fuck out-of-phase circadian rhythms. Today, we’re stepping outside for breakfast, Chewy. It’s a date. We shall venture forth into the daylight and face our fiery nemesis, because that’s what the intrepid do. In other words, we have run out of fungus to eat.

You are squished into the stroller like a muffin top and I can’t tell if the creaking is from the wheels or my knees. A cloud of darkness stifles the bully in the sky. Fuck you, sun. I own this fucking day. I am the mistress of mornings. I am the champion of chai, the licker of larks. I caught that fucking worm and fried it golden before you could say horizon. I put in the ho in horiz…never mind.

A bevy of lavenders cling to my tights, desperate to escape their bed of feces and cigarette butts. I don’t care if they are beautiful. Today, the weeds will have their day while the rest asphyxiate in their stench. After all, the grasses are the masses. Saplings of all species unite!

Oh hey — a massive spider web with a necklace of dew adorning its symmetry. This is the kind of craftiness and perfection that makes me want to crawl back into my sheets, nauseated by my unheroic self. It’s like spending time on Pinterest.

I never realized how busy the sidewalks get this time of day — men in suits with faces shaven to a baby’s bottom and women in running shorts with buttocks tighter than…roti dough that I kneaded last week? Waiting room chairs? Knots in my nec…Whoa! The audacity of buses honking the frizz out of my ponytail — where do they all come from? Cue Elanor Rigby.

I brave the highways of death and steer us into the folds of a croissant. This is why mornings exist. Freshly baked with a crust so delicate it crumbles to the touch, a sadistic perversion that tastes like sin, a ticking grenade that causes a toddler that shall remain nameless to explode into a tantrum deafening all in the vicinity. I disown said human and study cobwebs on the ceiling as though it were the Sistine Chapel. I take notes.

Buttered and caffeinated, I fold my face into my oversized hat and oversized glasses. Living life large and breakfasting like a boss, we venture forth into the daylight to face the wrath of our star. Fuck you, morning. It’s what the intrepid do.

 

All The Leaves Are Brown

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What could be more wretched than a summer’s day, clawing at the pupils through a blanket of dreams? Sunday. Yet, the children have no concept of time and its need to be melted, stretched and snapped into oblivion. Their stomachs rise with the gongs of church bells.

The village is dressed in straw hats and mary janes, while the fruits of an atheist lie rotting by the table. Waiting. These children of mine, swat flies they can’t see, circling themselves into a rabid frenzy. Hunger. At least hunger is a sign they’re not dead.

I scrounge for breakfast and hope that refrigeration has mummified the bread enough to stop the fungus. Stop the fungus. I slap on an extra gob of nutella as an apology but forget to cut the edges off and shape into a square. Cut the edges off and shape into a square.

I tune the boombox to California Dreaming and their whimpers amplify to a torrent of sobs. “Oh, it’s not meant to be sad”, I say, “You see, skies aren’t gray in summer”.

Today Will Not Be A Good Day

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Today will not be a good day to die. Because everyone would know that I didn’t bother to shave my legs. That I still wore maternity shorts. That I hadn’t unloaded the dishwasher past sunset. Nor touched the dirty dishes. Dishes dirtied by frozen meals I’d burnt while produce rotted in the fridge. While cobwebs collected behind the children’s bed. The mountain of blankets on the bed that would sprout dust fountains when they bounced. Their bouncing off walls on an overdose of M&Ms they had for lunch. Walls fortressing me with stubborn bricks of fear. Fear of life, of death and the comatose in-between.

You Need To Make This Fun

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Mango. How does one begin to attack this fruit?

A deformed velociraptor screeches across my face followed by a panting tyrannosaurus. It is rescued by the fleet of matchbox cars recycled from a stash of the older sibling’s first birthday gifts. His hand-me down shorts are a season too small, but at least the grinning piranha on his t-shirt is new.

My mother leans back against the damp moss of the tree and polishes her prize on the pleats of her skirt. She carves a golden orb of diamonds in a practiced symmetry. A river of stickiness drips down her elbows.

He peeks through a crack on the terrace walls. There are balloons, bubbles and children whizzing by on scooters. He is three years old today. This is not his party.

Perhaps I can just bite through this toughness.

He returns to the pizza hardening on the counter adorned by tiki-themed danglers that were leftover from his baby shower. They don’t really care for pizza anymore, but that is all I’m serving. Like gum on a sole it is fused with their notion of a birthday party and I cannot rob their godless lives of these slices of tradition.

A taste of flesh ends in a violent ripping of skin and breathless consumption, a hunger known only to lovers denied.

The older sibling huffs about in circles ignoring the groans of his bike. Forced to spend the evening at home, the shrieks of his friends next door taunt him as he licks away tears before they soak the straps digging into his chin. “It’s your brother’s birthday today. You need to be here. You need to make this fun”.

Ravished and bare, its hairs stand coarse and ugly against limp skin. All sweet things must end.

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Thirty-Something Shades Of Red

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You stood there frothing, working the cliched irresistibility of the Lady in Red. All bosom no hips, you were a gobletesque temptress etched in crystal.

Our lips met, albeit suspiciously, and it was easy to forget how I picked you up by the corner of 2nd and Washington at a Sunday evening bargain.

It was easy to forget that we’d met before, that our stories were printed in jersey shore sands, cutting imperfect shells through pedicured virgins, only to be slapped into silence by the salt of dusk’s waves.

It was necessary to forget your continent of lovers and the infinitesimally slim slash across your diamonds that only I can see. Yes, I inflicted it in a moment of negligence. But you understand, my dear, that it wasn’t my fault. That I wouldn’t have hurt you, if I didn’t …

Words. Forget words, all these words. They seem so pre-pubsecent in their ability to sing our story. You know that intersection between space and time, where life-altering moments slip into blackholes? It exists, I assure you, somewhere down that rugged path you travel down my throat.

Somewhere down that rugged path it’s just you — you and the fluid ease with which you slide into my being, annihilating other worlds into blurry, sepia-toned photos to be stashed in cobwebbed attics that my granddaughter will discover.