An exercise in futility
I could go to Target. Or maybe Kohl’s. Not Walmart. She would be offended about being forced to go to Walmart to return it. Returning gifts is always a possibility with her. We got that from Mom. From the fact that we had to return so many gifts she gave us. I couldn’t stand to go into a Macy’s. Really, I should go to one of those boutique shops downtown. The kind that spell “shoppe” with an extra ‘p’ and an ‘e.’ Better yet, I should have spent the last month in all the little boutique…
A speculative tale about what could have been.
They gather at Stephanie’s house. It’s not the largest, or even the most convenient, but since she is cooking the turkey this year, that’s where they go. Dresses, slacks, and ties on, they start arriving too early. Dad hovers, checking unnecessarily that everything is being done the right way. Mom brings her stuffing, two pies, and the cranberry sauce. She helps Stephanie with the basting and they have a small disagreement about when to put the stuffing in.
Jen calls from Utah. It’s her in-law’s turn to host Thanksgiving this year…
I love the fall. And I hate it too.
I love the chill in the air, the changing leaves. I revel in the sweaters and hot drinks and seasonal produce.
At the same time, I hate the shorter days, diminished sunlight. I dread the bitter cold and holidays and the need for socks.
While autumn is my favorite season, the dark side of Fall is the descent of my seasonal affective disorder. SAD. The worst part is, I hate admitting I have SAD.
I’m not reluctant to admit that I struggle with mental health, or that I need a little…
a perfect orb without dimension
red-orange color defies description
it travels so it seems while i stand still
stuck in the moment i stopped believing
i stand while the eye moves
plague, locusts, fire, flood,
now we await the horsemen
don’t tell the world the truth
wait until they see it on you
but they are too busy
being seen to see
saint john saw flying wheeled beasts
i drive one to school each day
perhaps what he meant
is the end would come this way
not in one moment
of righteous uplift
but in a slow boil
we bring on ourselves…
We buried my brother on Tuesday.
He was 43 years old.
He died alone in his house on a Friday night. The death certificate lists “pneumonia” as the cause of death. But that’s not what killed him.
Thirty years ago, we buried my grandmother.
She was 72 years old. Her death certificate says “pancreatic cancer.” But that’s not what killed her.
In between my grandmother and my brother, my uncle and maternal grandfather passed. Their causes of death? Kidney failure and lung cancer, respectively. All four death certificates state reasonable, tragic, but completely understandable reasons for how their lives ended…
Friday Fix Prompt for August 21, 2020 — Forget
A screen appeared in front of her.
“Simply select the people, places, and events you wish to forget,” the doctor said, “But remember that periphery memories could be affected.”
She chose which memories to be deleted, signed the waiver, laid down on the operating table.
“Let’s begin,” a voice said.
Friday Fix Prompt for August 7
Absence and Presence
Your perfume faded today. It lasted longer than the memory of your face; longer than the imprint of your body in the bedsheets. Your scent lasted longer than the frozen casseroles, and the flowers from the funeral I tried to dry.
Your absence fills more space than your presence did.
I’m like any modern parent. I constantly worry about every single decision, and it’s effects on the long-term happiness and adjustment of my children.
Do I breast-feed or bottle?
Co-sleep or own crib?
Cry it out or up multiple times?
Preschool or home daycare?
Working mom or SAHM?
And a million other decisions, big and small, that people on both sides feel are all life or death decisions. No matter what you choose for your children, there’s going to be someone telling you it’s the wrong choice.
Parenthood is full of stressful choices under normal circumstances, but being stuck at…
I had been three months into my “healing separation” from my mom when my sister suggested a Zoom call with the whole family.
It was six weeks into the Stay At Home Order. Each of my four siblings had been almost non-responsive. We all had our own families to focus on, our own work-from-home and homeschooling schedules to manage. So connecting with each other, and with my parents, was last on our priority list.
To be honest, I was relieved. My family is not the best for my mental health.
In a time of high stress and anxiety, I knew…
Coeds protest in the streets
Sandals on their feet
backpacks o’er their cheeks
They bare all
What I was taught
Stay in line
March in time
Isn’t it an honor
To be a man’s daughter
To be a man’s mother
To be a wife
The life I thought
Fathers can’t be gay
Gay you say?
All the gays
They have AIDS
Don’t you know?
Disillusionment of mind
New teen eyes see
Where people far away
Communicate through one green line
Writer, educator, mom, coffee lover. I write memoir and creative nonfiction about psychology and mental health. Twitter @running_shadows IG @s_annewriter