I feel it coming again. The sinking feeling. It is like this every night. I wake up quickly but quietly. It is still dark outside so it means I will have to try again to sleep for the night is not over yet. I look around searching for I don’t know what. Everything is as it is supposed to be. My water bottle is on the nightstand with the cap closed. My glasses are sitting safely too with nothing touching the lenses. The room temperature is just right. I am not hot nor cold. So then why do I feel so restless?
I take in a few deep breaths and get up anyway. I quietly walk out of the room carrying my phone in one hand, trying to put on my glasses with the other and, pushing my feet into the slippers for I hate being bare feet. Did I mention I am a multitasker? I walk down looking for what is wrong around the house? The front door is locked shut. The porch light was not left on like I had expected it to be. I do not see any other light lurking around from any corner of this floor. Next, I walk fast but with soft steps to the younger kids’ room. The door still creeks if you open it too fast or too much, so I carefully look inside opening just enough. I make a mental note to oil the hinges of the door in the morning. the soft glow from the fairy lights is enough for me to see their baby faces sleeping in the bunk beds. They are too old for this; I think to myself wondering when they will ask for separate rooms. I turn to look at their window squinting my wet eyes tired from trying to see too much in the dim lights. And, it is shut closed with the lock on. But the curtains are not drawn completely. Aha! I feel a little relieved to have found one wrong thing. I walk into the room to close the curtains. I like it when they sleep till late mornings at least on weekends. They are happier during the day when they sleep longer.
I turn around to walk out but notice something dangling from the corner of the top bunk. For a second my heart skips a beat and I can hear myself inhaling and exhaling, worried I might wake them up. I try to look more carefully because whatever I am thinking it is, clearly is not possible. We don’t live in a jungle neither do we have a big farm of animals roaming around. I walk closer to the hanging thing only to realize it is a scarf. A long black scarf; I throw it in the laundry bag, angrily.
I now walk out only to enter the room of the older one, who is snoring again because of seasonal allergies. She is the stunner in the family. Even while sleeping she looks so beautiful. I hope she is blessed with genuine loving people in her life who see beyond her beautiful face. She is also the smartest one of the three. She wants to study history and write books. My 10 years old is clearer-headed than me. I almost kiss her forehead but then decide otherwise, for she is a light sleeper. I look around her room but find nothing to fix. I smile looking at her, cursing myself for screaming at her during dinner time. It was only a small spill, why did I have to lose my calm at such a small thing? I am such a bad mother. I walk out amazed by her well-kept room and disappointed in my parenting skills.
The rest of the house seems so dull with everything in its place. Bookshelf standing up straight and not on the floor like I thought it would be when I heard that loud noise. Maybe that was a dream. Or maybe something fell down in the kitchen? I take small steps to avoid the annoying creaking sounds of the wooden floor.
And then I smell it, a gas leak. I left the gas stove on. I hurriedly turn on the gas stove light checking each knob closely sniffing like a dog. But to my disappointment, they are all off and I do not really smell any gas. I smile with a smirk thinking of that episode in FRIENDS when Ross tries to flirt. He really does talk about gas and sewage. Rachel was one lucky woman. I even laugh a little, then suddenly shut down with tears feeling sick in the stomach and lonely all over again. For the next few minutes, I walk to every corner of the family room looking for something to fix, wipe, pick or turn off along with trying to remember other funny things, Ross did or said on that show. He is hilarious, I think to myself. Maybe I can watch that episode in the morning while having coffee, I make a tiny unimportant mental note. Also, knowing very well, that I will not. Because like always I will most likely be sitting quietly, drinking coffee. Yoga and meditation can do that.
I walk towards the back door determined that I left it unlocked. But sigh and grunt all together finding it locked safely. Basement, I tell myself. The steps to the basement door are quick and for once I ignore the creaking floors. The breathing gets harder as I remember the sinking feeling. But it happened years ago, I tell myself trying to focus on the present. I was young and naïve. I did not know what it was until just a few months ago. I feel sick about myself disappointed like always, thinking how stupid I was. I make another mental note, to talk to the kids about consent, yet again. All three of them can write essays on consent by now, yet I keep talking about it to them. I wonder if they can sense the anxiety in me. Am I overdoing it? What if I scar them by talking too much about it? They are still quite young to remember it all, should I keep discussing it with them? And then I remember when I was 7 years old.
I have to sit down on the stairs to the basement, and concentrate on my breathing. Slowly inhaling and exhaling. Why do I do this to myself? Every night, it is the same.
I get more disappointed, to find everything fine in the basement. The way I expect it to be, well mostly. It is messy, but then I do not expect anyone to clean. It is my thing. I am the one with the cleaning problem. Others only need to take care of their shit, that is all.
I look at the door that opens to the garage, almost given up on this hunt for what is wrong? Disinterested and crying out of frustration now, I enter the garage, and I finally see it, the garage door wide open. I sit down on the floor, crying looking at the open door, telling myself repeatedly that I was right. I can relax now. The night does not look too dark anymore, it is almost morning. I still decide to shut the door. I stand in the middle of the garage waiting for some ungodly noise or some animal to jump on me from one of the corners; because I am sure something got in, while the door was open. After ten mins of standing in the dark with mosquitoes having a party on my legs, I walk back to the basement and shut the door behind gently but tight. No need to lock, for it is morning now. I take another peek into the kid’s room and this time I notice a bright pink paper with words written in sparkly silver on the soft board….
“Dance like no one is watching.”
“Talk like everyone is listening.”
“Dress up to only impress yourself.”
I smile with tears. This time they are happy ones.
I walk back up to get dressed for the day, thinking of how to impress myself. I can feel her eyes on me, yet I ignore her tonight. But on the last step, I turn around, almost out of habit, and sigh, at the woman hanging upside down from the ceiling, thinking why do I always see her, even when I am happy. But like always she does not show any emotion, just stares back like even she is tired of scaring me every night.
I finally give up waiting for another look from her and walk back up to get dressed in yesterday’s track pants and tee.