Hunter Thompson’s Ghost is Riding My Consciousness Wagon…

Okie dokie, folks.  We’ve just crossed the border from reason and logic to the swarthy land of full-on crazy sauce.  My left eye and both ears are currently hallucinating.  Everything looks like it’s on a slant, I’m seeing things that I know were here earlier – happily obeying the iron rule of gravity – floating inches above and to the side of where they belong.  Everything in front of me looks like that weird reality you accept when you take the 3D glasses from the man at the window and shuffle into a dark corner of the theater.  Yes.  There are shadow people.  All up in my business.  And even if I close my eyes the baby monitor, glowing that half-breed shade of pondwater green/almost-dead-goldenrod, streams a constant report of static-crumpled giggles, singing, chirps, conversations from three tables over in a crowded tea house (sliverware tinkling), whimpers, hisses, clicks, hiccups and – perhaps most disturbingly – dragging noises.

Although I’ve ingested nothing fun aside from some fajita chicken and the effigy of a chubby, jolly wee elf, whose chocolate innards pleased me intensely, I have only just understood what Hunter S. Thompson meant by “bad vibes, fear and loathing.”  Ugh.  I really want to go get my husband because, although sensation reports that reality has jumped ship, I know that he’s only a set of stairs away and that he would give me that pitying, irritated, bleary-eyed one-in-the-morning look and tell me to go to bed.  I could close my eyes and wait for whatever rift in the space-time continuum has been created to sew itself back up.  But I can’t bring myself to do that because I’m afraid of what I’ll see if I stand up and go around the corner into the dining room, which offers access to the aforementioned stairs.

Why?  Why, for the love of all that’s good and holy won’t Harper wake up screaming?  She always wakes up screaming about this time of night.  If she would wake up screaming, then my husband would wake up and I could slink upstairs secure in the knowledge that if I have melted into some some horrible and completely unintended bad trip, my husband will be able to pull me safely from the purple alligator-filled quicksand.  Won’t he?

I’ve always found Schizophrenia to be the most fascinating of psychological disorders.  Fascinating because it is terrifying.  To me, the thought of having no way to distinguish between reality and hallucination would be the absolute measure of terror.  And I’m being one hundred percent serious when I say that I can hearwhat I believe to be an unknown song by The Eagles very clearly through the white noise in this baby monitor.  This thing is evil.  Also, I would put my right hand on the bible and swear to you that I hear the floor above me creaking as if my husband is at the bassinet.  But not an earthly creature stirring.

I know that it’s a weird combination of lack of proper sleep, a day spent far more in the sun than others, matrixing sounds out of white noise, the chorioretinopathy in my left eye coupled with the almost complete shadow of my living room.  But I just heard someone burp into the monitor and my brain is working double time to try and convince me that the armchair across the room has turned itself to face me and is gently rocking itself, waiting patiently for me to get up.  And for what I care not to know.

Wow.  I really don’t understand how anyone could voluntarily do this to themselves.  Timothy Leary, you were one ballsy character because if this were to be a common occurence I think I would certainly just jump off a bridge.  Not sure how tonight is going to end up.  I think it’s time to turn on the television and wait (pray) for one of my children to wake up and, in so doing, wake my husband up, so that I can reconnect with reality.

Strange, strange things here tonight.

A Letter to My Husband, Who I Love, but Who I Hope I Like More Tomorrow

I can remember three separate occasions on which I’ve cried openly in front of my father since learning the shame inherent in crying openly.

The first was the night my mother left us.  I was fifteen, and he sat beside me in my bedroom while I sobbed into my pillow, hiding my face because I was so embarrassed and confused.  He stroked my hair, patted my back, and asked me if I wanted to go to my grandmother’s house for the night.  I told him no.  I never told him it was because I didn’t want to be the second woman to leave him that day.

The second was the night before I went to jail.  I was twenty-one, and he drove me from his house, where I’d gone to visit one last time, to my mother’s house, where I would spend the night before I had to turn myself in the next morning.  He told me that we all had to face consequences and that everything would work itself out.  It was only thirty days I had to spend away, but that night in the glow of the dash lights it felt like thirty years.  I faced the window and pressed my lips together tight, but the pitch of my voice gave me away.  I told him I was crying because I didn’t want to go to jail.  I didn’t tell him that it was really because I was so embarrassed for having let him down, and disappointed in myself for having to leave him.

The third was tonight, when you cut him off in the middle of his sentence.  He was telling me about his own memories of being my age.  The sun had just gone down and the overwhelming humidity of the day had finally broken and I was rocking in my rocking chair and listening to him and thinking how unusual – but how thoroughly nice – it was to have him visit and tell stories and just be with me.  I know you don’t know this, because you didn’t take the time to stop and wait for my attention.  You burst through the screen door with that wild, pissed off look I’ve gotten so familiar with, and you didn’t yell, but you hissed, “I can take this anymore.  They’re both fucking crying and I don’t know what to do.”  Then you stormed back inside to sulk and pout.  I’ll bet I know another thing you didn’t know.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that I’d been listening on the monitor and they’d been crying for under two full minutes.

Tonight is the last night I cry in front of my father over you.  Tonight, I’m going to let you deal with them the way you let me deal with them for the first three weeks of their lives:  all alone.  All those nights that I dealt with two howling newborns completely independently because my husband “needed his sleep for work.”  All those nights, frustrated and bewildered and completely forbidden to call you downstairs from your air conditioned bedroom to help me, or just to console me while I attempted to console them.  I had no idea what to do with them.  I had no idea what to do with myself all those mornings afterward, when I’d had no sleep and my breasts ached and bled from my failure at breastfeeding, which mirrored what I considered my horrible failure at motherhood, and when no one was coming to relieve me of any of it – not for a shower, not to go to the bathroom, not to sit quietly in another room or have a bite to eat – for hours.  And I figured it out because you gave me no other option.  And I’m a god damned good mother for it now, so it’s time you became a god damned good father.

I’ll be back tomorrow.  Until then, it’s up to you to figure it out.  If I can do it, so can you.


My tooth hurts so bad.  So bad.  I can feel the root throbbing and the whole upper right side of my mouth is roused.  Even the bottom half, now and then, will twinge, irritated, like a downstairs neighbor subjected to a raging party one floor above.  I need a dentist.  I hate dentists.  When I’m not pregnant, I need Valium and the promise of gas – lots of gas – just to get in the front door.  The last time I had a root canal, I got Vicodin.  Can’t take Vicodin now, with two thirty-week-old fetuses depending on me to be an adult.  Can’t take Valium, either.  Can’t huff Nitrous Oxide.  Can’t get help, because the fetuses made me slow at work, so they fired me and cancelled my insurance that day.  Next morning, a brief call from a surly DPW worker who informed me that my husband’s $350 a week is too much for us to receive quite a bit of help.  She’ll put the application through, but we shouldn’t get our hopes up for much.  I need to bring proof of our very existence to them by the 22nd of March.  I have a prenatal appointment on the 16th.  Guess I’m not going to that.  Can’t ask the doctor about the tooth ache or the apparent sudden case of elephantiasis of my right foot and ankle.  My grandmother was morbidly obese.  My ankles and feet look like hers.  Soon, the skin will start to turn shiny and crack open.  Could be toxemia, according to WebMD.  I know you’re not supposed to diagnose yourself online but hey…I was right about that tumor two years ago.  I told my husband what it was and what they’d do about it before they told me.  Probably just a lucky guess, but still.

Maybe we’ll get some good news from unemployment this week.  Maybe I’ll get at least half of what I was making at work. So kind of them to classify it as a “layoff due to lack of work,” and not come right out and say that I’m fired due to pregnancy.  Don’t want to say that.  Pregnant bitches be crazy.  I might see fit to go and file some kind of lawsuit.  But that’s what this is.  They’re dropping their baby weight.  Doesn’t matter that my work record up until the pregnancy was so outstanding that it’s the reason they hired me full-time.  Doesn’t matter that they extended my probationary period without telling me.  The only protection a pregnant woman has in this state is whatever protection her employer feels like giving her.  Looks like they just wanted to keep me on as long as I was giving them more production than I was costing them in hospital bills.  Must be my trip to the hospital on the orders of my OB for three hours of fetal monitoring tipped the scales.  Must be I wasn’t worth the trouble anymore.

They day they did it – a Wednesday – they said they really liked me.  They invited me to reapply if I ever felt that I could meet the minimum standards of production.  I wondered whether the minimum standards included a few women pregnant with twins, to even out the average times.  I wondered why, from November to February, not a word was said about my production times (well, well below average, according to my boss).  I wondered whether anyone felt anything as I walked out to my car, completely uninsured and pregnant with two babies, about ten weeks from delivery if they cook as long as they’re supposed to.  I wondered whether the world was really this cold.

I wonder a lot.  Last night, for a couple of hours around two a.m., I got up out of bed and came down to the couch and wondered whether I’d made a mistake in marrying my husband.  Whether I’d ruined his life by associating with him.  Whether my school debt and my inability to keep a job and my complete uselessness were unfair to him.  I wondered whether it wouldn’t be better if I slid off the road in our unpaid-for Toyota, and slipped into the river, and froze.