My husband’s breath is cool against my shoulder.
The baby wails a minor complaint.
I hold my breath. Will he need settling? Will he wake his brother?
I exhale as the whimper from behind the wall wanes, and the house breathes with me.
The thoughts are running, racing, raving towards madness tonight.
What must be done, who must be called, who needs to be seen. Tomorrow, next week, next month.
The eerie glow the phone emits makes my eyes blur, see double, with my glasses on the bedside table next to me.
Typing into the screen as quiet and still as I can be. I don’t want to wake my husband. Don’t want to disturb the rhythm of his breathing.
The quiet sound as he exits from this world into another. Lets the breath of today out and draws the air of tomorrow in as the clocks straddles between what has been and what will come.
Today he yelled at me. Because I had yelled at him, he yelled at me:
“Calm down!” – so I did.
I wasn’t angry with him. Or anyone really.
I felt like I was going to implode, explode. Zoom into the air or bore into the ground. I felt like my mind couldn’t exist in my body anymore. So pent up, yet so messy and strewn across the ground.
Grocery shopping with three children in the middle of the day, in the middle of pension week, in the biggest supermarket in town. Not the wisest choice.
Stopped by well meaning admirers.
Are they twins?
Sigh. Smile. Yes!
Oh how lovely for you!
Yes, we are very lucky.
Yes you are! And who is this?
I Rory. This mummy. These my boys.
Getting in the way of others, others getting in our way. The trolley burgeoning with food and children – unpushable. One boy kicks my band where I am holding the handle. The other pulling items from the shelves, from behind, to the side. Anything he can get his hands on.
And a girl, standing at the front of the trolley, holding on with white knuckles as I turn the corner. Singing the refrain from The Little Mermaid as Ariel gives up her voice to the sea witch.
Run into a friend, who looks at us with the raised eyebrows of an unspoken question.
She’s a mermaid. On the front of a ship.
Of course she is! I see it now!
It all seems so blissful now. Lacking in the urgency and the annoyance I felt as I whirled around that supermarket. Lapping the place looking for the items on my list. Appeasing hungry tired children with marshmallows and apple juice. Waiting as patiently as possible for the community catch ups to progress to another aisle.
Sorry, excuse me.
Sorry. Can I get by?
Pardon me, I’m sorry.
Through gritted teeth.
And finally the check out.
I help! I do it! I need to do it Mummy!
So she helps. She places everything on the belt and I try to organize it, begin to get annoyed with her and then stop. Breathe.
Thank you for helping sweetheart. You are doing a good job!
I did it!
She doesn’t see this as another chore, another job. It’s exciting! A new achievement.
Later, she tells her Meemah that she helped and I am proud of both of us.
I can hear her sweet snores through the adjoining door of our rooms. A rhythm of her own. Intertwined with my husband’s. With my own.
And my shoulders relax into the softness, my eyelids are all of a sudden laden with the weight of today.
And I close my eyes, and breathe in the promise of a calm tomorrow.