suburbia 5 a.m.

Suggested listening while reading this post: 
Once in a Lifetime
Little Boxes
Psycho Killer
suburban bedroom, early a.m.
A mother sleeps soundly, well as soundly as a mother can sleep. She is 40 and not content with her age, more because it means that certain parts of her life are now behind her than for reasons of vanity--though those don't sit well with her either.

She dreams of one of the actors on a popular television show. There is nothing sexual about it, though the actor is handsome. When he speaks to her it is in his native British accent, on the show he is Southern. She realizes she doesn't have a crush on the actual actor, but the character he portrays. This is upsetting, because it means the man she likes doesn't exist at all. "You're happily married," that bitch of a voice most people call their conscience, but she refers to as judgey bitch voice, whines.

She feels the figure standing over her. She wonders which one it is--there are three, the fourth is still in a crib. How she prays it isn't him. If it is, that means a big boy bed, which he will discover he can get out of.

"Mom," it's one of the big kids. The littles refer to her as 'mommy.'

She attempts to speak but, "Whadda," is all that comes out. Eloquence is reserved for daytime hours.

"I have a headache. Can I sleep with you?"

She fails to see how letting the 9 YO sleep in her bed will cure her headache, but is too tired to argue. Instead she says, "The bed is broken. It can barely stand the weight it holds now."

"Daddy has been running," the girl is hopeful. "And you're so skinny, Mom." The girls attempts at flattery, while smart, are wasted at this early (or late--the mother hasn't looked at the clock) hour.

The 9 YO leaves, finally. The suburban hausfrau attempts to return to her dream, but before she can there is another figure--if it is the girl, she vows to threaten her with punishment. Ah, she'll take away her favorite television show, the one about witches going to witch school. It's a bad show. She should make her daughter stop watching it either way.

"Mom," it is the son, age 10. "Mom, mom, mom."

As she sits up, she realizes that both children, who have interrupted her semi-peaceful slumber, have passed by her sleeping husband, their sleeping father, without interrupting him. "What is it?"

"There's a spider." He is obviously upset.

"So, kill it." She obviously is unmoved.

He won't budge. "I hate spiders."

Sure he won't go away, she follows him downstairs and into the bathroom. The linoleum floor peels up in the corner. She notices this even in the dark. They'll fix it someday. She has no idea when.

He turns the light on, stands back and points, "There it is." He steps outside of the bathroom, behind her.

"Get me a shoe." She stares into the sink at the large and immobile arachnid.

"A what?" He stares at her as if she is speaking in tongues.

Maybe this is only a dream. Sometimes dreams are strange and nonsensical. Maybe her life is nothing more than an offbeat television show.

"A shoe. I need something to kill it with." Normally she would attempt to save it with the bug saver, a red cup. The kind of cup they used to use at keg parties in high school is now used to save creepy crawlies. It is too early in the morning to save anything. Besides, she saved a spider, possibly a brother or sister to this one, yesterday.

"I'm not giving you my shoe." He stands firm.

She thinks about asking him to give her a basketball high top. She knows for a fact that there is a pair, right in his closet, with holes in them. Instead she walks around him, and into the living room where she searches for a book in the disorganized bookshelf. She grabs a Doc McStuffins, one where the annoying Disney vet version of Doogie Doc attempts to figure out what's wrong with some disgraced toy no one will play with. She hopes she remembers to wipe the spider innards off before the 4 YO sees it.

As she heads back to the bathroom, the woman hopes the spider is still in the sink. If not, the boy will never go back to sleep for the spider will be crawling somewhere in the house. He will grow and grow as he plots his revenge on the people who, one fall morning, attempted to exterminate him.

"Mom, kill it." The boy will not take his eyes off the spider who is so still, she wonders if he is alive at all. Maybe he can sense them and is playing dead. Do spiders do that? The woman realizes how little she knows about arachnids. She'll look them up on Wikipedia she promises herself.

Smack--she brings the book down hard on the porcelain. The spider is still, and then suddenly, in horror-movie fashion, it rises again as it scurries, with it's misplaced legs dragging behind it, toward the drain. It is attempting to survive--the way all living creatures do. She feels awful. She does the only thing she can, swalmp--she hits it again at least twice, maybe more. The spider is finally dead. The woman scoops it up with a tissue and throws it in the trash.

"I hate spiders," the boy says as she tucks him back into bed. She's sure it's his way of saying thank you.

Before heading upstairs, she gets medicine for the 9 YO and some water. She brings it into the room, but the girl is asleep.

Back in her own bed, the woman's husband is still sleeping. She glances at her phone--5 a.m.
She stares at this man she's had children with. His mouth is open wide as he inhales and exhales. She is reminded of that song, the early 80's one, by the Talking Heads. "This is not my snoring husband," she thinks as she finally drifts off to sleep. Soon the alarm will sound and she will live another day, but that's a story about suburbia at 7 a.m.

If you've enjoyed this post, please check out my last post--a fictional account of married with kid sex--by clicking on the image below. 

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