I wrote a flash fiction piece today but think I actually want to submit it somewhere, which means I can't publish it here... unless it gets rejected, in which case expect to find it here along with some snark soon ;-)
You're not going to like this, but hear me out. I need you to let my daughter tell you no.
Yes. You. I'm not addressing the random stranger at the grocery store, the bus driver, the old ladies at the diner who squeal with delight when we walk past their table. I'm not talking to strangers (for the record, they're definitely not allowed to just randomly come up and touch her, and trust me, that enforcement is something I'm on top of every.single.day.). I'm talking to you, the adult in her life who genuinely adores her, who can't wait to squeeze her, who fiercely wants her to cuddle up to you.
I understand that your motives are pure. I appreciate how much you love my child. And that's why I need you to listen to me, and listen to her when she tells you no. She is small. She is adorable. I absolutely get your urge to want to hug her and hold her. She is the most huggable kid that has ever existed. But she is a person. She is her own person. She is a…
I’ll never get all the laundry done.
And there will always be more dishes.
As soon as I have one load started, she’s dripped ice cream
onto her shirt, proudly displaying a bowl, spoon, face, and outfit that all
need to be cleaned.
Nothing will ever, all-the-way, be cleaned.
She’ll always be sleeping in something, spilling something,
eating something, adventuring in something.
There are toys everywhere, avalanches of artwork, broken crayons, crumbs.
That’s my life right now.
And sometimes I let the shambles stress me out.
But I shouldn’t
because one day,
I’ll get all caught up on all the laundry,
and all the dishes.
The clothes will all be put away.
The drying rack will be
I’ll turn around, waiting to see the newly-manufactured mess—and
it won’t be there.
Because she won’t be there.
She’ll be out with friends
in her own apartment
adventuring somewhere other than right where I am.
And now I need a tissue,
but we’re out of tissues,
because we’re always running o…
It isn't a maternity shirt. There's no give to it; it was never
designed to accommodate this unexpected situation. The pale pink fabric is taut
across her ballooning belly, its seams stretched and angled. Rounded flesh
protrudes from beneath the border of the overworked shirt, skin still seeking solace
past the point where the fabric ends. The shirt is so strained, so
overburdened, it bears no resemblance to how it must have looked in its own infancy,
hanging on a rack or folded neatly beside all its identical siblings. The woman wearing the tight shirt shifts, scratching the exposed
section of her belly, letting her hand linger there only momentarily before pulling
it away. Her pants are sweatpants, the waistband rolled down to allow room for
the same bulging stretch of stomach that eludes full coverage by the shirt. Below
the sweatpants, her swollen feet overfill her purple dollar store flip-flops. Above
the shirt, her hair is unapologetically magenta. Her eyeli…