There’s an old home movie that plays in my head. In the scene, the little redheaded girl wears a short dress, dating the movie from the late ‘60s. There’s a dirt road with nothing but brushes alongside. Down the edge of the road runs a small trickle of a stream. The little girl stoops down and scoops up a pebble which she quickly pops in her mouth. The father just as quickly sweeps her little mouth with his finger.
I’m not sure why that particular scene keeps running through my thoughts.
The past week has been almost a blur, fuzzy, snippets of life caught between lucidity and la-la-land. A friend who dropped by unannounced one day was stunned by the number of meds in my pill caddy. There’re enough narcotics in my house to bring the wrath of Nancy Reagan excepting that they all have labels slapped on the front with the prescribers’ DEA numbers.
My back injury and the accompanying meds to relieve the discomfort prevent me from fulfilling my duties in my chosen profession, homemaker – the third oldest according to Erma Brombeck, immediately following prostitution and motherhood. It’s an invisible injury, unlike a broken leg, and it’s one without a definite timeline for recovery, unlike a broken leg. Regardless, I beat myself up for not being able to do the work I chose to do. There’s guilt for having muddy paw prints on my wooden floors, for not meeting my youngest at the bus stop every day, for not having supper on the table when my husband gets home, and for being so off-schedule on my sleep cycle that my routines no longer seem to coincide with anyone who means anything to me.
It’s not as easy as removing a pebble from a child’s mouth. Although it’s as hard to chew as a pebble. It was simpler then, in the ridges of the mountains. It was more comforting then, in the arms of my father. The loop begins again. The little hand reaches into the cold water and pulls out a shiny round rock. It’s frozen in time. And in my mind.
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