I drag myself from my bed, throw my bathrobe over myshoulders, stumble into the bathroom, pour bath water as hot asI can stand it, plunk myself into the tub to ease out some of the painful stiffness. I swear, some days, that rigor mortis issetting in a little prematurely. I wash my hair, pull the plug, patmyself dry, twist my hair into a towel around my head. I don’t bother looking into the mirror. I know what’s there. And whatisn’t.I flip the kitchen light on, rinse a pot and pour in sometap water and salt, turn a burner on to maximum. No lunchesmade last night, I see. I must have forgotten again. Andheaven forbid that the kids should actually do anything of their own accord, at least not without being told a dozen times. So Idefrost a couple slices of bologna, smear mustard andmayonnaise onto four slices of bread, slap on the half-cooked bologna, some lettuce, slice them into two, wrap in plastic,stumble to the stove, pour rolled oats into the boiling water,turn down the burner. It boils over anyway.Then I wake up the kids. They growl at me, pull thecovers up over their heads, tell me to go away and turn off thelight.
, I say.
It’s not my fault you have to get up in themorning and go to school. It’s only my fault you were bornand it’s too late to have an abortion.
But they are never amused at six-forty-five a.m.Somehow the porridge gets eaten, the lunches get packed,mismatched socks get put on, coats get found, notes get signed,money gets handed out to avoid an argument, the door getsslammed, homework gets left behind, but at least they’re goneand I topple back into bed.I read for a bit until the words mutate into black bugscrawling over the pages. Drowsiness overcomes me like asheet of lead. I will pull my pillows down, wrap myself in the blankets. I will close my eyes and watch the insides of myeyelids until the tunnels appear and then I will float into thetunnels. My body will begin descending, sinking, and then will plummet sharply till I hit bottom. The bottom is a wonderful