As a mom, I see danger everywhere. Choking hazards, tripping obstacles, slippery when wet, caution—flammable. Everywhere. Continuously living in that tenuous moment before potential death or major injury.
The universe, at this point in history, has deemed it necessary.
And yet. This moment finds me on a chair pushed haphazardly beneath the smoke detector after drinking two whiskeys in front of the flickering fireplace on a January afternoon.
I’d been suffering vertigo. Dizziness. Muscle pain and body aches. I drank some Scotch, thinking that should help.
I timed it perfectly so I could get you off the bus. I walked the whole way through the backyard in the freezing rain that’d been falling all day. Over the mushy, slushy, mostly melted snow pocked with the boot prints and sled tracks from our weekend frolic.
I made it all the way to the bus stop at the corner of the block. Upright. You started asking questions right away as you plopped off the bus and stomped across the street to me.
You: What are we doing today?
You: Are we going anywhere?
You: Who can I play with?
You: Can I go up to the neighbor's house?
A battering of questions. As always. I stopped you and calmly explained that I still wasn't well. Haven't been feeling well all day.
Me: I need your respect.
Me: I need you to listen to me the one and only time I will say this—we are going home to relax.
Me: You can watch TV or videos or play games. Whatever you want.
Me: Daddy will be home in a couple hours and will decide what happens next.
Me: Do not ask me anything else.
You were so kind to me. You complied without a fuss. I asked how your day was as we squished through the slush along the curb. You said 'good' and started to explain the nature of snow.
Back at home, I threw another log on the fire in lieu of pouring more Scotch. I got us marshmallows for a snack. The smoke detector shrieked into the Monday blues. I actually double-checked that I had not set the house ablaze, even though I know the alarm reacts at the slightest hint of a smoky aroma.
As I grab a chair from the dining room table, I give you two little white pillows and stuff one in my mouth. I climb the chair. Tipsy. Sick. Dizzy in a smoky room. With a marshmallow in my mouth.
Marsha Timblin = cats>dogs, beer>wine, cake>pie, coffee>tea. She is obviously bad at math, so she earned an MFA from Chatham University in 2013. She writes fiction from her home in Pittsburgh, PA, where she also spends her time as a part-time bookseller, an assistant home brewer, leisure cyclist, wife, and mom.