I just wanted to share these little glimpses of myself with you. There is no reason. No point. Is it just my desire to be real? To be seen? Instead of ignored? Even if no one reads this, I am out there. Visible. Not invisible.
I suppose there are deep secrets of myself within these lines. Beware.
I am driving my yellow Bombardier four-wheeler, black wheels thick with brown muck, long wavy curls rushing into the breeze. The half moon twinkles down on me and my long khaki skirt flaps in the wind. I crawl past the Raspberry and Gooseberry bushes, mud slinging from my tires, branches scratching my calves. My nine-year-old sits between my legs and my fourteen-year-old hunches behind me, sulking because she wanted to drive herself again this time.
I walk nervously into the muraled entrance after being buzzed in by the secretary, some relation of my grandmother, friendly but aloof; she does not ease my anxiety. It is my first day teaching a new class in a new school in a new town. The students tower over me, many a clear foot over the top of my head. I wear a long black skirt, black army boots, and blue button-up blouse, all encased in a thick black sweater. No jewelry mares my small frame. My hair is wrapped up and flipped over, making a short tail. My clear face and deep blue eyes face the crowd, preparing for their onslaught.
I am wrapped up in a plush brown blanket as the quarter moon tries to shine down on me through the floodlights of the outdoor football field. We are surrounded by forest, swamp, and still green grass. Here there are more mosquitoes, chipmunks, squirrels, and deer than people. My hair, streaming down my back, encases my neck and bare ears, and my brilliant blue sweater warms me as I type on my little black notebook. Occasionally, I slide the notebook close to me and lift my video camera or my digital camera and capture moments of my teenager’s life as a cheerleader. The local television station captures the lives of the high school football team, being trampled by the Bisons. The darkness encroaches on our regale, the coldness chilling our bones. Grown men scream and cry out as our team falls to the ground and the other team scores a touchdown. I wonder how many, what are they called, quarters, I think, there are in a game.
I sit alone in the theatre with the glowing green lights, waiting for Capitalism: A Love Story to start. My little black notebook sits precariously over my legs, which are wrapped in a red velvet Christmas blanket. The cold air from the vent above filters through my long, billowy burgandy sweater as I type. I worry that my new photo frames from Kohls were too much, even at fifty percent off, but I know I needed to find some for the new black and white photos we had taken, capturing a single moment in the lives of my ever-growing children. I plan out how long it will take to drive home, wondering how I will make it home before the school bus.
I am driving, alone, on my way to class, forty-three minutes away from home. My back touches the seat behind me, in the full upright position, and my arms, wrapped in an olive green sweater, lay gingerly on the steering wheel. One foot on the gas petal and the other bent, knee on the door and foot on the underside of my dash. Snow sloshes around my tires and a truck passes my slow-moving Explorer. Matchbox 20 soothes my nerves and I sing along, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been really loved. . . .”
I listen to my family discuss whatever war we are currently waging. My cousin and his wife, military folk, rage on and on about those damn towel heads and how they get what they deserve. It has to be true, Beck told them just that morning. I walk away, easing myself from their reach. Their little girls sit on the living room floor and play with Milton, my grandparents’ enornmous chocolate lab. The girls begin to fight, over a doll that neither really wants. “Mae!” Their father scolds from the other room. “Knock it off or I am going to beat your ass!” The girls run downstairs to continue their quarrel away from their parents eyes. I sit alone, watching my uncles engrossed in the television, some football game I am deeply uninterested in, and for now I am safe. I wander into the family room, seeing my cousin feed her young son. The women are sitting around the dining room table, discussing school and whether or not NCLB is working. My aunt, the school teacher, complains about the bad behavior of students in her fourth grade classroom. The baby begins to throw up. Two women jump up and leave the room, gagging. I run forward, with another cousin, and begin to clean up the mess. His mother runs to the bathroom to find a rag, my cousin grabs some paper napkins and wipes up the vomit, and I pick him up and gently tear off his dress shirt. He stops crying until his mother begins to wipe his face.
I drag myself out of bed before the sun rises, and put my children on the bus. The sun has still yet to rise when I walk out into the chill of the morning air, two Australian shepherds yapping at my feet, tripping me as I walk through the damp grass to the dark white tin barn. Forty-five cows moo in unison, sounding like murrr instead of mooo. I feed the baby kitten that is crying by the milkhouse door and pass out grain, scoop by scoop from the heavy old wheelbarrow to each and every cow, heiffer, and calf. They bob and weave, back and forth, tongue hanging out, as I move past them, singing along to the radio, belting out all the right words in all the wrong keys. My foot taps and jostles, eager to be done with this, wanting to dance to the beat, my body begging to return to the house and bathe, my mind trying to think of anything but being here.
I lie awake, coming out of the warmth and dreaminess of my slumber, something has drug me out, made me aware of the sun gleaming through the large picture window in my living room/bedroom. I reach one hand over and touch the top of my infant daughter’s head, sweaty and warm from her dream state. I reach my other hand over and touch the top of my sleeping five year old’s head, feeling her warmth and rest. They both are peaceful and serene. I feel the energy racing through them, into me, and back. A feeling of sheer joy and wonderment runs through me, bringing me a sense of tranquillity better than any high. A dog barks. I wake up. It is time to work. My children are in their own beds, safely away from my caress, safe in their advanced years, no longer my babies, but almost grown. I sigh and drag my weary body from the warmth of my thick blankets and prepare for work.