Author's Chapter Notes:
Please forgive me for the cryptic start. It will get better, and less depressing. I hope :)
As always, Stephenie Meyer is the genius behind all things Twilight. I'm just playing with her characters.
"Mommy! I need some candy, Mommy!"
"No, Jacob, we've had this talk. No more candy today. You've had enough."
That was all it took to turn my adorable three-year-old son into a screaming demon child. By seven thirty every evening he seemed to be on the cusp of a meltdown and any little thing would set him off. Today was no different. I reached down to scoop him up in my arms, attempting to quell the fit that had him gasping for breath. Finally, after holding his head down on my shoulder and humming his favorite lullaby he calmed down enough that I could talk to him.
"Honey, it's time for bed. Let's go get your bath and put your jammies on, ok?" I braced myself for another onslaught of tears, but the poor little guy just laid his head back down as I carried him to his room.
"Mike?" I hollered from Jacob's room to where my husband was sprawled out on the couch in the living room. "Will you start a bath for Jacob while I get him out of his clothes?" I knew it was too much for me to expect him to get his lazy ass up and help me with the baby, but for some reason I never gave up the fight.
"You're up. You can do it," he yelled back at me. I could just picture him in my mind's eye. Laying there in his underwear, stretched out on the couch with the remote in his hand, completely clueless that I was about to lose my mind from his lack of help in our life.
Frustrated, I stripped Jacob down and carried him to the bathroom, his little face red and tear streaked. I sat him on his potty stool as I bent to turn the water on for his bath. He was still sniffling when I helped him into the tub, but soon he was talking and laughing as the warm water eased his rollercoaster emotions. When he was done, I anticipated another fight to get him out of the tub, but it seemed the little guy was exhausted and didn't argue with me as I dried him off and got him in his pajamas. I followed him to his room and helped him get into his big boy bed. We said our prayers and I sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to him as was our custom. I kissed his sweet little mouth and said "I love you" to him before closing his bedroom door.
Seven forty five. I still had three hours before I could go to bed and that was not nearly enough time to accomplish everything I needed. I scooped up the ever-growing pile of laundry that had accumulated in the hall outside the bathroom door and headed for the laundry room, dropping it unceremoniously in a heap in the middle of the floor. I pulled out a load of Jacob's clothes and added a few of my work blouses to it and started the washer.
With the laundry going, I went to the kitchen to clean up the dishes from dinner and to prep the vegetables for tomorrow night's roast. Having to work full time meant that by the time I got home I was exhausted and it would take too long to prepare a meal. As a result, I did what I could the night before so all I would have to do is throw the ingredients in a pan and cook. It wasn't ideal, but then my life wasn't, either.
With the roast browned and the veggies peeled and chopped, I swept the kitchen and ran my trusty Swiffer mop over it once. I fed and watered the dog, then took her out for her nightly walk around the block. When I got back, I noticed that Mike had been up as there was now an empty ice cream carton in the sink and a bowl and spoon on the counter where it would undoubtedly summon another trail of ants to make my kitchen their home. Again. Why the man couldn't clean up after himself at thirty-five years old was beyond me. And the fact that he would rather throw his trash in the sink than the trash can that was beside the sink was just one of the many things that pissed me off about my life lately.
I picked up the discarded carton and put it in the trash can, then washed his bowl and spoon. It seemed that Mike had not been able to do the one chore he had agreed to do for me and take the trash out. With a resigned sigh, I pulled the bag up and tied it, slipped my shoes back on and took the bag out to the Herby Curby. Remembering that tomorrow was trash pickup day and knowing that Mike wouldn't bother setting it by the street, I wheeled the monstrous trash can to the curb.
Back in the house, the washer had stopped, so I moved the clothes into the dryer and started another load. I made myself a Diet Coke and went in the living room to rest my feet for a minute before taking a shower. Mike was passed out on the couch, snoring softly, the TV blaring some show about a repo company and their 'adventures.' Looking at the man I married, I was disgusted yet again. His job was hard – he was a mechanic and during the summers in Arizona the heat was perilous in the metal building where he worked. I knew he was dog-tired when he got home and I didn't hold that against him, really. But I also worked an eight hour job. In his eyes, the fact that I worked in an air conditioned office at a desk meant that I had it easy. Maybe I did, physically, compared to him. But, being in an office with thirteen women who are catty and petty put a strain on my emotions to the point that I often just wanted to scream at them all to grow up.
My Coke gone, I got up and went to the bathroom to shower. The washer had quit filling so I didn't have to worry about the water running cold on me if I could finish before the rinse cycle began. I undressed quickly and got under the hot spray. Tonight, even the normally relaxing shower of warm water and the scent of my favorite shower gel couldn't ease the tension I felt and the unhappiness that had been steadily building.
As I dried off, I caught sight of my reflection in the foggy mirror and was struck by a fear so gripping that I swear my heart stopped. I was getting old and my life was going nowhere. Gone was the pretty girl that I used to be, with the nice figure and the outgoing personality. She had been replaced by an overweight, middle-aged woman whose life was just depressing. How did I get here?
I pulled my favorite t-shirt on and put my wet hair up in a drippy pony tail, then went to hang the dry laundry up and put the other load in the dryer. After putting the clothes away I woke Mike up and made him go to bed, turned the TV and the lights off and made the rounds through the house to make sure the doors were locked and everything secure. When I got to my room, Mike was sound asleep again, snoring loudly this time, the covers wrapped around him as he sprawled his large flabby frame across two-thirds of the queen sized bed we shared.
I got to my knees at the side of our bed and prayed a desperate prayer to God, or whoever else would listen, to help me. I was lost and I needed a way to get my life back on track. I was fraught with the feeling that my life was a bottomless pit and that there was no bright light in the future. I felt silent tears stream down my face as I begged for some relief to the absence of hope in my heart.
Completely drained and emotionally fatigued, I fell into bed and promptly slipped into the darkness.