Today has been made of suck for me, but I stumbled accross this passage from a WIP I abandoned called "Go Forth and Discover, Young Americans!"
I stumbled into the kitchen with a pounding headache. Kev grimaced as he noted my floppy pajamas, and unwashed hair. He was completely ready for work (except of course for the last ten minutes of running around asking 'April, where'd I leave the fill in the blank ?') The kids, however were still in their pajamas and asking for food.
"'S there any coffee?" I mumbled.
"No," said Kevin.
"Can you make there be coffee?" I whined.
"Yes," he said cracking a small grin. Apart from the fact that he obviously forgot to brush his teeth, he really was rather cute. I suppose it was inevitable for me to fuck up the moment.
"Why isn't there any coffee? You know I can't function without it! You're always up before me and it’s the simplest damn thing in the world! Would it kill you to just remember to make a pot every day?"
I glanced at Lee jumping up and down to the Wiggles.
"Why the Hell aren't the kids dressed? My GOD, Kev! You do this every morning. Lee's diaper is huge! Did you give Ursula her cereal? Turn some lights on! Good grief! It's like a bloody cave in here, how is anyone supposed to wake up with no lights on? What the HELL are all these dishes doing in the sink? The dishes in the dishwasher are dirty, for Christ's sake! Did you check? I'll bet it didn't occur to you to check and see if the dishes in there are dirty! I see you left last night's frying pan on the stove! GOD! I guess I have to do it all myself, again!!"
Kevin's smile slipped down around his ankles, as he cowed under my assault. He rolled up his sleeves, brushed past me roughly and turned on the water as I kept flooding him with complaints. I didn't stop either. I just couldn't shut-up, I was in the middle of a sermon about how no one helps me out, and how everything is plopped in my lap like it's my job.
I was aware of a hot uncomfortable feeling in the back of my eyes as my list of complaints gets longer and louder. Lee started imitating me, while I changed his diaper.
"Keeeevaaaaaaaan," he whined nasally.
Kevin shuffled around, cowed, while he emptied the trash and the diaper pail. He looked at the floor and said nothing. He was brought up by his mother and three sisters to listen and obey. Something in his genetic makeup just made him react to a female voice like a dog-whistle. A very tiny voice in my head told me I was going too far. I couldn't push him like this, not if I wanted him to respect me. I had never listened to that voiced before, and I don't do it now. Years of training from my Mother were blossoming into fruition.
It was only after Kevin gave me a peck on the cheek, kissed the kids and walked out the door, that I shut up.
I then realized that of the 2 hours we had shared that morning, I had spent the entire time giving him orders. We hadn't talked, we hadn't blissfully prepared for the day ahead together, I wouldn't make him his sandwich. I had shouted, "make your own damn sandwich! You got hands!" We hadn't even had breakfast together. What was happening to us? I thought glumly.
Then I realized. We NEVER did mornings together. When we'd first got married, Kevin would get ready for work and leave me sleeping. If I ever made his lunch, it's because he was eating what I had made for dinner the previous night. I shook it aside and said, "I'm just not a morning person, that's all."
The tiny voice said, "Maybe you're just not a marriage person."
I told that voice to go to Hell.
The next morning, I got up as early as I could and stumbled to the kitchen. Kevin was frankly surprised. Normally I didn't get up unless the kids were up, and they were still asleep, tired out from staying up late last night. I gave him a weak smile as he pulled me into a warm hug; my chin scraped against his scratchy unshaved face and he ruffled my dirty hair. I inhaled his smell and sighed with content. It had been worth getting up early for this... Until I saw the cold coffee pot... and the cold slimy dishes... and the pork roast from last night left out.
"Keeeviiiin..." I began. And then stopped.
"Whaaaaat?" he countered with a pained expression. I gritted my teeth, and took a shaky breath.
"Nothing...uh I was just going to ask if you had taken your shower yet?" I said, thinking quickly.
"What, really?" Kevin looked around uncertainly, like he was searching for hidden cameras.
"Yeah, go ahead, I'll take care of this and get the kids up and dressed," I said, giving his hand a squeeze.
"Really?" asked Kevin in the manner of a man probing a canker sore. "It's just that when you said 'Keeeviiiin' like that, I thought you were gonna yell at me for something." I laughed this off as lightly as I dared.
"Noooo!" I said, giving him an affectionate pinch. "What would make you think that? Go on, before Lee wakes up!" I said shoving him towards the bathroom. Kevin wasn't fooled for a minute, of course, but he understood, and gave me a wink.
"I love you," I said, meaning it.
"I love you too," he returned, flashing me a brighter grin than I'd seen in a while.
Of course when he left, I was faced with the gooey dishes and no coffee, but I took a deep breath and plunged in. Hindsight being 20-20, I should have started the coffee so it'd brew while I was doing the dishes. Being short on coffee in the first place though, I wasn't thinking very clearly. I was about to wash out the cold coffee from yesterday, when Lee started banging his crib against the wall and Ursula started crying.
"Kevin?" I called out. Nothing. Damn. I'd have to get them myself.
Moving slower than tectonic plates, I slowly changed diapers, wrestled the kids into clothes, and plopped them in highchairs with a handful of Cheerioes each. This bought me time to make the coffee before they demanded breakfast.
I realized, I couldn't wait for the fresh coffee, I'd never make it, so I emptied the cold dregs into a bucket-sized mug and shoved it in the microwave for a minute while I made the fresh pot. My progress was halted when I heard popping and hissing from the microwave. I'd left my spoon in the mug, and it was sending up sparks. I took out the scalding hot, incredibly bitter coffee, and looked for some milk to help it go down easier. I'd done this before. When you added milk to day-old coffee, you often couldn't see the difference. It might change in color from pitch black to charcoal gray, if you were lucky.
A quick look in the fridge told me we were out of Milk. I was about to whine "Keeeeviiiin" again, and halted in my tracks. I would just deal with it. I looked around for a substitute. My best bet was some ancient, freezer-burned vanilla icecream from the freezer. It worked pretty well, and at least it brought the coffee down to a temperature safe for human consumption.
Lee looked up, saw the icecream container and pointed. "Bite? Bite? Icebeam! Icebeam tone!" he chirped.
"No honey," I said calmly. "No Icecream cone. How about juice? Okay?"
Lee frowned. "No Juice! Icebeam! Icebeam! Icebeam tone!"
I cringed, "Lee-honey, Icebeam's not for breakfast. You want some toast? Toast for breakfast?"
Lee paused, his elfish face screwed up into a scowl. He started to make whimpering noises as his cheeks began to turn red.
I decided to give in, it wasn't worth fighting. I scooped out some ice cream and plopped it in his suction-based bowl. To make it more breakfasty though, I poured Rice Krispies on top.
By now the coffee maker was done trickling, and I had that glorious first cup. The anticipation made it transcendently good. I look around at my clothed, and eating children. Kevin strode in, fresh from the shower, and we sat at the table and ate our breakfast, making small talk while Dora the Explorer played in the background. I could get used to this, I thought. I then and there resolved to get up early every morning.
The next morning I pretended to be asleep so Kevin would leave me alone and get the screaming babies. I then lay in bed for an hour until Kevin brought me a cup of coffee. I burned my tongue and spilt it on my covers.
Maybe I'll get up early on Tuesdays... I'll start with Tuesdays.