I wonder what it’s like not to have depression.
The words were scrawled across the lined paper with a cross between cursive and print. The ink was neat and practiced, the tip of the pen resting gently into the period. Her fingers curled a little tighter. There was something she wanted to say, needed to say. But for some reason, the pen wouldn’t move.
“I…” it started, slowly curved upwards into a loop-de-loop, then she stopped once more. With a frustrated sigh, she dropped her head down into the crook of her elbow.
It wasn’t the first time she’d tried to write these words. Her thick feminine figure was strewn across the queen-sized bed without a sheet on it. Only the once black comforter padded between the short-haired girl and the mattress beneath. She was wearing the usual, a bright red tank spaghetti strap and comfortable jogging pants that she’d procured from some failed relationship or the other.
Drawing her head up with a sigh, she parted her lips and brushed back the long bangs from her face. Blue eyes darted around her back towards the door of her room. Still quiet. She breathed a sigh of relief at the early morning stillness. It wouldn’t last long.
Again, she turned to the three-subject notebook, the heavy pad of paper still empty of words and begging for her to spill some. The one lined phrase sitting there as though a blemish on the perfection of the blue and white.
“Well, shit.” She gave up frustratedly, expressively capping the breast cancer awareness pen that her mother had given her. Little pink ribbons reflected the light as it was tossed down onto the pad. Curling her body into the warmth of her comforter, she shut her eyes.
“Mom.” Of course. One eye slit open to the barely lit room where the toddler stood at the edge of her bed. “Yeah?” She croaked out with a hoarse voice.
“Toca?” The peanut of a boy climbed up into the bed, his greedy hands reaching up to the shelf of her headboard. He wanted his tablet, the children’s edition that had little kid games with bright colors and overly repetitive voices. This is a square, the girl mocked in her mind. She shook her head and warmly drew him into the blanket with her.
He wasn’t the chubby healthy type of toddler that you’d see everywhere. In fact, he was quite the opposite: thin, long, and surprisingly muscular for a baby of three years old. He was stripped to his diaper; the boy couldn’t keep his pajamas on to save his life. They nuzzled and she lavished him with affectionate kisses on the cheek. At least, as long as he’d allow. The boy struggled free with a few grunts, feet kicking lightly against her stomach until he was pinched free. Sliding down the side of the mattress, he disappeared to go back into his own room.
Again, she shut her eyes. It was silly to think that she’d get any sleep at this point. Her oldest would be up soon as well, Benji would be certain of that. The day would start like it always does without any regard for the sleepless night. It was only a matter of time.
Blue rubbed her eyes,the sun spilling through her sheer curtain. Too early, she groaned in a quiet response, twisting back into the comforter that embraced her. In the next room, she could hear one child shuffling to get dressed for the day. The other, well, he was bouncing up and down on the bed. The springs strained and called out for help, but Blue didn’t care at the moment. She wanted to sleep, drifting between that temporarily quiet chasm of clinging to a dream but waking up to the inevitable reality.
They depend on me, I have to get up. She forced herself against her will, drawing one arm upward to reach for the phone. How much longer was it until the alarm goes off any- “Crap!” It was like her heart was suddenly jumpstarted, her eyes wide open at the time. Only ten minutes to get her son out to the bus stop!
“Alex! Let’s go!” Her voice cracked in the dry air. The minutes turned into a blur, time moving faster than she was. He jotted out of the room wearing dark blue pajama pants and a bright green t-shirt. “What? No!” Blue determined, grabbing the nearest pair of jeans in his pile of clothes. She assumed they were clean, after all.
Alex gave a fit, crinkling his nose and narrowing his eyes. The little fists of the bony boy turned tight. “But mom! I just want to wear this!” He protested with a growl. But he listened, turning back into the room and grabbing the jeans heatedly from her. The denim snapped against the doorway as he disappeared within.
“You’re gonna have to eat breakfast at school today.” She called out defeatedly. She hated seeing him like this, upset with her. But the boy wasn’t likely to understand just yet that she was only looking out for him. After all, Alex got teased enough as it is. Stupid, retarded, special, he was called everything in the book and yet the boy had a decently positive opinion about life. For now.
He came back out of the room with another outcry of anguish. “But mom!” He repeated another growl. He didn’t have much time to be angry though as she tossed both arms around his shoulders and drew his thin form against her own cushiony figure. The hug diffused the boy, sliding him side to side in an overexaggerated embrace that somehow turned into a tickle fight. His laughter pierced the dread of the morning and even she couldn’t help but suddenly smile at his wide toothful grin.
On went the coat and backpack. “You didn’t have homework, right?” She asked quickly. Sometimes, she couldn’t remember these things. They escaped her quite easily, in fact.
“Uh, no.” He said slowly with a not very convincing twitch of his fingers as he tightened them around the shoulder straps.
With a quick nod, she twisted open the first lock and then the second on the front door of the house. The metallic door opened letting a burst of cold autumn break through into the warm house.
“Be good. No standing on the bus. Ladies first.” She repeated the mantra. It was a tradition since he’d gotten on his first bus, and one she was happy to repeat over and over well to his last. He gave it no mind, hopping down the creaky wooden steps into the chilly air.
“I love you.” She reminded him, repeating it yet once more since he quite obviously didn’t hear her. Alex cast a glance over his shoulder. “Love you too, mom.” But his mind was gone before he was, focused on the task at hand. He was a lot like his mother that way. Otherwise, their lives would fall into chaos surrounding them.