Ten o'clock in the morning, Connie Lewis was still in bed, making herself blind. Normally she didn't believe in old wives' tales, but the longer her hands prowled beneath the covers, the blurrier her vision did seem. By round three she could barely discern the Roman numerals on the bedside clock. It would take more than a threat of blindness to make her stop, though. She always had idealized Helen Keller, come to think of it. Wasn't it Helen Keller who'd said, 'We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough'? Right now, though, the 'anything' Connie wanted to achieve was nothing. Even in her morning exploration session, she stopped right before she got to the point where it hurt to continue.
"Mom, I'm hungry!"
Of course, some things, she had to do. "Oh, hey there, Daniel," Connie croaked along with an exaggerated cough. "Summer colds—ach, achht—the worst. Is that video over already?"
Daniel calmly walked over to his mother's bedside and turned on her reading lamp. "Mother," he said. "I've rewound the film, twice. Can you make big waffles?"
Big waffles. This meant riffling thorough the cupboard for whole grain flour, rolled oats, organic cane sugar, and canola oil, praying that the eggs and milk had not yet met their expiration date, and worst of all, lugging out the waffle iron from the only place it fit, in an awkwardly high cabinet above the refrigerator. She'd been trying to transition out of 'big' waffles to Eggo's Homestyle waffles, which came pre-cut. Simply pop in the toaster, and as Daniel didn't even care for butter or syrup, voila, breakfast is prepared and served. They were even iron-fortified. Damn kid could tell the difference, however.
"Okay, big waffles it is," Connie conceded, afraid of provoking a meltdown this early in the day. After surreptitiously pulling up her panties, Connie flung off the covers, sat up in bed and invited Daniel to climb on her back. She carried him piggyback-style into the kitchen, bouncing him like she'd done when he was much younger. Her antics were fueled by a tinge of guilt: she'd let Daniel watch hours of movies for practically his whole summer vacation while she whiled away the morning hours in bed.
Once in the kitchen, however, her momentum slipped, as she was confronted with physical reminders of the backlog of tasks from her eternal errand list. Where to even start? Nothing could possibly be cooked in the kitchen until she tackled the sink full of dirty dishes. Connie scrutinized the plate perched on the top of the pile and picked at the congealed spaghetti stuck to it with her chipped fingernail. Find a sitter and make an appointment for a manicure. Daniel, in a state of near starvation, lay down on the area rug in the center of the kitchen and sneezed. Call super to replace chipped tile, have rug cleaned and move to cover worn floor in foyer, and send Daniel's health forms to school. The counter was cluttered with the detritus of family living: mail, Legos, crumbs, rubber bands, a package of light bulbs. RSVP to Dina's party, find the big clips to close bags of pretzels, buy 60-watt bulbs. The sound of her moaning child lying on the dirty rug saved her from the impending spiral of despair. She'd save that for when Daniel went back to school and she could have seven full hours to devote to desensitizing her clitoris.
"Mom...my stomach hurts!"
"Honey, I am so sorry," Connie said, lying down on the mildewed rug next to her moaning son. She petted Daniel's soft brown hair, not sure who was suffering more at the moment. She was hungry too, but her back ached fiercely and, even though she knew it was unfair to Daniel, she just wanted to spend the day lying on the kitchen floor. Mustering energy, she finally said: "Let's get dressed, and I'll take you out for breakfast. Okay? We'll go to that diner that makes the really yummy milkshakes, okay sweetie?"