flushed and washed, I couldnt fall back asleep. It was as though, outside
of the greens and blues of my dreams, the night was filled with eyes and teeth.
I tried to distract myself by counting clients, by tightening and then relaxing
my muscles one at a time, beginning with the largest ones and working toward
the smallest ones, and by guessing at the cause of the flickering light that
was visible beneath my bedroom blinds.
that beam was coming from a chthonic being. Alternatively, it could have grown
from the chemical reaction that occurred hours after I ate cold pizza, washed
down with goat yoghurt and strawberry smoothie, and nearly a full carton of
rocky road ice cream. Maybe the luminosity originated from any neurological
sicknesses I was stewing from having to respond, all by myself, to twin
guessing, I patted the space usually occupied by Ray. His half of the mattress
was cold and would remain that way for the rest of the week. He was traveling
once more, filling our phone calls with claims of exhaustion as well as with
horrific tales about airport security. We needed his income, in addition to
mine, if our kids were going to be able to afford college.
Chhatrapati Shivaji, Haneda, and Ivato were not as off-putting as were any of
the USA airports and their TSA agents. It was bad enough that Ray got sent,
without support, to troubleshoot, but it was worse that he was repeatedly
subjected to backscatter screenings at Louis Armstrong and Thurgood Marshall
and to pat-downs at LaGuardia and McCarran. Being strip searched again and
again and having his lap top constantly confiscated due to the hue of his skin
was degrading, demeaning, and likely illegal. Besides, after such incidents, he
was a grouch.
stopped strobing. Neither a cooling breeze nor unhappy sounds from the nursery
materialized. The cat found her way to my pillow. I nudged her to make room for
my face. No dogs barked outside. No drunks knocked over garbage cans. Our
suburban cul-de-sac was quiet.
morning, I loaded up the double stroller with my two freshly diapered sweetums,
tucked their lunch bags into the carts basket, and strapped my
messenger-style briefcase over my shoulder. My heels rattled around in the
backpack that I slung over the buggys handlebars. A plasticware container
of green juice leaned out of the vehicles cupholder. When Ray was home, I
didnt have to drop off our daughters at daycare and, consequently, had
enough time to breakfast on toast and eggs.
my third cup of coffee, but before lunch, Andrew sent me the latest slush pile.
He and Julie were supposed to have separated the possibly publishable pieces
from the rest, but as of late, there was an untidiness to the files they
forwarded. Weeks later, I would be the only unsurprised person in the office
when they announced their engagement.
that morning, there was tosh and other assorted rubbish mixed in with the
manuscripts that might, given a rewrite or ten, be printable. In addition to
the palpably poorly submissions and to the probably salvageable ones was a
tough-to-rubric piece about a murex. In that story about an escargatoire of
predatory sea snails, the protagonist was an artsy young woman, who was fed up
with the constraints of and poor remunerations handed down by big business. So,
she decided to become a zookeeper.
returning to school on a scholarship-that part of the plot was problematic
since the main characters first degree was a double major in finance and
instrumental music, specifically oboe, and finishing a new baccalaureate in
aquatic biology, she applied for an entry level job at the aquarium of her
local zoo. Implausibly, she fell into the murices tank and was eaten
could receive kudos for creativity, but not for much else. His character
development was even worse than his plot. His hero was a nerd, who was
misunderstood by everyone and everything except for the peacock
mantis shrimp that were unexpectedly suffocating in the aquariums Pacific
Ocean tank. Additionally, the writer had failed at research; murices never eat
prey as large as humans. Moreover, no profitable zoological board would kill
man-eating critters. More likely, zoo administrators would sell such monsters
to government labs. I filed that story in my potted houseplants
The rest of
the day proceeded accordingly. While mentally finalizing which stories would
receive contracts for the next issue, I lost a heel on a piece of subway
grating. I had forgotten to change back into my kicks when walking to reclaim
my girls. No problem. Similarly, I didnt fret that one of my daughters
having pooped through all of her emergency outfits while at daycare. I have a
At home, I
heated up pasta, spooned applesauce into my children and poured myself a glass
of Gewürztraminer. The wine was a little too fruity, but passable. After I
bathed and bedded the kids, I checked my smart phone for messages from Ray. In
one, he had sent a picture of my favorite flowers. In another, he had written
that he was counting the days until he returned home. Regrettably, his meeting
schedule, combined with the time difference between our locations didnt
allow us to Skype.
for a second time, I had trouble sleeping. Maybe I shouldnt have eaten
the pizza that I hadnt finished the day before. Maybe I had swilled too
much thyme tea, a diuretic. Maybe, I was having nightmares about morphing into
a murex that was being killed off by a well-meaning, utterly stupid, do-gooder.
Fortunately, the cat came back to my pillow. She partially woke up when I
lifted her off of my face. Nonetheless, she purred enough to sooth us both to