The waves start from something as simple as a perfect red rose bud with dewey drops. The crimson edged petals remind my heart of French films, first loves and young horrific beauty. Waves of hormones then get busy building silent tears behind my eyes. Little fuckin’ estrogen men, pushing pools of saline around my eyeballs that I can’t stop until they just spill over my lids. Big ones too, rivers drip dropping right off my chin.
Then my heart thumps and beeps and tap tap taps. I scroll through the rolodex in my head, a quick scan of all that I worry about. Have I forgotten someone? Is my heart beating so fast because I forgot my children somewhere?
OK, check, everyone’s OK. So, why damnit? Why so many tears? Why the anxiety induced heart pumping explosion in my chest that makes me want to cry, then panic, then throw a bowl against the wall or kick my foot through a window?
I know the answer. And she’s a bitch.
I came home from college one weekend with my friend Meghan. We drove down from Chico packed with our laundry and plans for two nights in the big city.
“Club DV8 bitch, heyyyyy.”
“Boys in my hood bitch, heyyyy.”
I was Salt, she was Peppah. I was Blonde Bitch at Wheel and she was Brunette Spankadoodle. We screamed Berlin while spitting sunflower seeds shells out the sunroof of my cute little sports car driving down the road at 80 mph!
“The painted faces on the street
Caricatures of long ago
Oh they were young and oh so sweet”
We were primed and fertile and free and on fuckin’ fire.
I walked in the front door of my parent’s home with it’s ten foot ceilings and white carpet with glass tables at every turn and found my Mom wrapping Christmas gifts, in May. The sounds of her sobs, her huge giant whaling sobs, hit me all the way across the house. They were coming from somewhere deep inside her. Somewhere I’d never heard before.
“Mom, what the hell is going on?”
I found her in a blue housecoat at four in the afternoon. It looked like something my grandmother would wear. I was certain Meghan’s mother never wore anything so stupid looking. Pink little rosebuds, eyelet lace at her throat.
She turned to me, slow like an arrogant cat. “Where have you been, where the hell have you been,” she roared with sharpened teeth and claws pulled out.
I looked at Meghan with her side braid and flip flops and smirked my best blonde bitchy smirk. Our eyes had a whole discussion about crazy as fuck moms with no words.
“Damn you, you never help with anything,” my mother sobbed, the words mixed with venom and spittle.
“Mom, why are you wrapping Christmas gifts, now?”
She took the tape from the glass table littered with shreds of green and gold leaf paper.
And threw it.
It flew farther than I expected and hurt more than I expected when it landed right on my cheek.
“Oh my god! What the hell is wrong with you mother?” My hands were now stationed at my hips in defense. “What the hell is going on around here. You’re acting like a lunatic!”
We drove to the mall to escape the tension and sipped diet cokes.
“Oh my god, she’s insane. No wonder I had to move three hours away. Jesus, what am I gonna do Meghan?”
My normal Mom, an elementary school teacher, was acting crazy and Meghan saw it all go down. I called my stepdad at work, pulled him out of a meeting.
“So Mom just flipped out on me. She actually threw something and she was crying so hard.”
“Your Mom’s going through a rough time right now. Ignore her, she’s just exaggerated for a bit.”
“Ignore her. How could I have ignored that?”
“She’s on Valium. It’ll get better soon.”
I don’t want to throw tape. I want to throw a bowl or a wine glass, something that will make noise when it breaks. I just want to. I want to do all the bad things. I want to yell at slow drivers, I want to call women bitches when they’re being bitches. I wanna call my husband a dick or an asshole during a Sunday morning fight. I wanna cry in front of my kids and take a hammer to my car. Damn, wouldn’t that feel good to just go the fuck off on your car or maybe someone else’s car?
Everyday everybody seems to need something from me. Pretzels, paychecks, birthday gifts, another dinner with a vegetable. I wake up and think today I’ll take the day off. Today I will honor her. I will honor the change. I will honor the goddesses and the moon and the rage and the cycle of life and death and rebirth.
But damnit. SHE’S SUCH A BITCH!
I was heavy with my second son when she made me loath my husband with a passion. The very sight of him made me sick. I’d mumble under my breath “I hate you” when he’d walk by me after a bike ride and stink like testosterone. I told him I wanted to leave him while tears rolled down my face. I didn’t. I just…couldn’t stand him.
“Hey babe,” he’d say when he came home from work and I’d be sitting on the couch crying.
“Yeah, how’s my day you ask? Oh no, you didn’t bother asking how my day was.” The tupperware would be all over the floor, legos and matchbox cars just waiting to jab a toe or trip a person right down the stairs. Couldn’t he see?
“Rough day?” He’d grab a towel and head to the shower, covered in sweat from his bike commute home. From his workout I never had time for anymore. A bike ride I couldn’t do with a toddler and a giant pregnant belly. Asshole.
“Yeah, super rough day. But don’t worry about it, just go take your long leisurely shower and shave and jack off and use up all the hot water. I’ll go make dinner.” Then I’d cry, quiet like on the couch while my son banged on a pot with a wood spoon.
Now she taunts me more, bit by bit, every month, chiseling away at my sanity. She hides behind my wit and bravery for most days but the moment my blood turns toxic with an estrogen surge, she steps out, front and center and ROARS, like a fuckin’ bitch.
“I’ll take your allowances away if you don’t eat those damn apples right now.”
“No you can’t have a draw for your paycheck, organize your shit better man.”
“I’m not your maid or your whore, pick up your own fuckin’ socks.”
Every month, gripped by her, tight while I hide, my thump thump thumping heart and pissed off brain try to find a new home, a new place where it feels like waves of a warm ocean, instead. A place where I’m young and nubile in a bikini and laying on a raft, riding the peaceful bumps and dips and pulls of the moon. A place where her and I can be friends, have respect for one another and live side by side, like we used to. Before.
Diana Kirk is the author of Licking Flames: Tales of a Half-Assed Hussy by Black Bomb Books. She’s previously been published in Thought Catalog, Yellow Mama, Nailed and Literary Kitchen. While not writing, she wears pajamas in bed and trades real estate or plans her family’s next adventures requiring a passport and anti fungal cream. You can find her on Twitter @dianakirk or at www.dianakirk.wordpress.com