Tuesday, November 22, 2005


The dark navy jeans with the striped v-neck. No—the turtleneck. The striped one looks better with the black jeans. She looks around the room frantically. The black jeans. Where are the black jeans? Oh fudge—they’re dirty. She shoves them in a bag, climbs over the baby gate, and lugs them downstairs. Here goes another two flights up and down—as if aerobics this morning was not enough. Dang, my thighs are killing me.

Okay. Black jeans with the v-neck, denims with the turtleneck. Oh heck, just throw in all three pair of jeans—and the brown ones, too. Where’s the jacket that goes with that? That would look okay. The pile leans precariously on the edge of the bed, unnoticed by all but the 20 lb. cat who desires to deposit half of his hair along the side of it. “Max!! Argh!!!” She picks everything up off the floor, shaking off cat hair and arranging them in smaller piles not so close to the edge of the bed, but right in the range of the toddler who crawls over them, making his way toward the cat who is now wide-eyed in fear.

Which bra goes with that? Socks! I need socks! Oh shoot—if I pack that pair of pants, what am I going to wear to work tomorrow? “Momma… Moooooooommaaaaaaa…”

“What, sweetie?”



“Will you color with me?”

She turns and looks incredulously across the hallway at the grade schooler, just in time to bump into the toddler who in turn scares the cat who in turn shoots like a bat out of hell (or a cat out of toddler’s reach) down the steps. At least HE’S not in my way anymore…

“No, bub. Not right now. I’m trying to pack for our trip. Sorry baby. Later, I promise.” Yeah, right. Right after I pack for all three of us and make dinner and get ready for my meeting tonight.

“But Mooommmm…”

The whining noise fades somewhat as she returns to her room, leaving most of the guilt pangs in the hallway. Now the toddler is in the suitcase. At least it’s not the cat, this time. “Oh buddy…” Oh heck, never mind. Let him sit there. What am I going to wear to work tomorrow? Here—the black turtleneck with the tweed. Write myself a note to be sure to pack the black boots once I get home. She pastes a third sticky note to the dresser, then bustles into the bathroom, hanging the work outfit to steam in the shower.

She turns again into her two-foot shadow, now carrying his sister’s plastic guitar, which his sister has not desired for months until it was placed in her brother’s room and which is now the object of great rivalry and ugliness. Note to self—pack after bedtime next time. She sidesteps the flailing toddler, takes the guitar back again from his sister, and shuts the door to her room, not even remotely muffling the hysterics of both of them just outside. Okay—socks. I need socks. What colors will I need? Let’s see… red, black, black, white…

Her mind drifts back to the email. What the heck am I going to wear to that party? And to church? Doggone it. The last time I was there, he asked me if I’d lost a little weight. A little? I’d lost fifty pounds—the jerk. MAN I don’t want to go to that party. Wish I didn’t feel so flippin’ obligated. Five years and nothing’s changed. The size ten jeans and the new, tight, red velour top that my husband said was sexy. Now THERE we go. It has gotten quiet in the hallway. She silently debates whether she should be concerned or relieved, afraid to turn the knob and shatter the treasured silence. Toddler footsteps and their voices chattering back and forth—she chooses to be relieved for the time being.

Crap. Shoes. What am I going to pack for shoes? She eyes her closet, momentarily dumbfounded. Why do things have to be so complicated? They never wanted to get together while we lived there—why do they care now? What the heck am I supposed to do? Go and put on and pretend that nothing ever happened? Isn’t that why we moved, really? To not pretend anymore? Oh heck—both pair of boots and the black loafers. Can I fit in my tennis shoes? The familiar urge to tell him off arises within her. She gives in. Again. “I was never unkind to you. I was never, ever rude to you. I never, ever treated you the way you treated me. Not ever. I never deserved the way you treated me.”

She is distracted by the sound of the cat rubbing against the door, causing it to jiggle in its frame. “Alright, Max. Come on. Just don’t get in my suitcase.” She opens the door and he jumps up onto the bed and immediately takes up residence where he has just been instructed not to. She sighs and considers taking up her rant again, then realizes it’s time to start dinner. Room for the tennis shoes. Great. Pack the carry-on in the morning, and I’m all set. She removes the cat, stroking him for a moment under the chin, feeling his motor run against her chest. I wish I could just let go of it… She sighs, and closes the suitcase.

All her baggage is ready to go.


Dean said...

Nice post, Lorie.

Very evocative.

My blogger ID is working again and I'm back to blogging too. Things are looking up.

lorie said...

Thanks! Missed you! I felt like I'd finally found you only to lose you again!

The hubby has been asking for you- let us know when you're settled in!

John McCollum said...