Conversations from the Park

swings

Other Random Mom: points at my preschooler. He's so cute.

Me: Thanks. He's a tyrant. He's lucky he's cute.

ORM: Yeah, mine too. I'm just finally getting him to sleep through the night, can you believe it. He's almost five.

Me: That sounds horrible.

ORM: It is. It's horrible. He's actually horrible.

Me: Oh, mine's horrible, too. He's four, too, so…

ORM: Pretty sure mine will still be horrible when he's five. And probably beyond that. Probably til he's 18.

Me: 28

ORM: Yeah. Probably his whole life judging by his commitment to assholery now.

Me: He does seem fully committed.

ORM: Oh. Sorry about that. He spits. And bites. He's pretty much feral. I can't take him anywhere.

Me: Mine hasn't really bit people yet, but there's still time.

ORM: There's totally time.

Me: Scads of it. Nothing but time around here.

ORM: Except when there's no time, you know? Like ever. No time to get my work done, do the laundry…

Me: Shave your legs…

ORM: Change your underwear…

Me: Well, there are limits.

ORM: Not really. I mean, I guess.

Me: pulls my kid off the top of the monkey bars. So, you work? What do you do?

ORM: I'm a sales rep. I can choose my hours, so I try to work when he naps.

We both laugh until we cry.

ORM: You?

Me: I'm a writer. I write books for teenagers. And business stuff.

ORM: Cool. Hey. Have you seen anything good on Netflix lately? I'm looking for something new to watch.

Me: Stares blankly.

ORM: You're not on Netflix.

Me: Oh no. I mean, I am. I just cannot remember anything I've watched on Netflix in the last six months.

ORM: Haha! Mom brain.

Me: It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

ORM: I know. I used to know things.

Me: Important things.

ORM: Yeah. Things outside of the color of my kid's last poop.

Me: What were those things we used to know?

ORM: Things like places to shop where you cannot also buy food.

Me: I haven't been to the mall in seven years. If I can't buy it in Target…

ORM: …it ain't worth buying.

Me: The outright stress of taking three kids to the mall. I mean. Come ON.

ORM: Yeah. Not gonna happen. Plus, there's the time thing.

Me: Back to that.

ORM: Yeah, I guess I circle around a bit.

Me: I'm circling the drain.

ORM: Aren't we all.

We both push our kids on the swings.

Me: Hey, wanna grab lunch some time? You know, like some time after we drop off the kids? Before the craziness of the workday sets in?

ORM: Sure. Let me just find a spare hour in the day to do that.

We look at each other. Burst into hysterics.

Spring Rain

Spring Rain

The spring morning smelled of dank earth. Dense clouds, thick and rolling, hung heavy on the horizon. A few leftover drops from last night’s shower ran in rivulets down the drain where she could hear the water surging beneath the city.   

She couldn’t cry anymore.

Her throat burned like tears, but the rain that fell from bloated clouds could not fall from empty eyes. Her cheek still ached from his back-handed blow. She traced shaky fingers across the swell. At least her injury came from his open hand and not his fist this time, or a belt like last Memorial Day when Patty from down the road found her sprawled on the tile, beaten bloody.

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