The Aftermath

“Mommy?” she says.

I look up.

“Sometimes I just say ‘Mommy’ and I don’t even know what I’m going to say.”

I nod.

“What should I do?”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know what to do.”

I stop and hoist myself up on my elbows to look at her, “I don’t know? You can do anything you want? Write? Read? Draw? Color? Play? Clean your room?”

“Yeah, but I don’t know what to do,” her long hair sweeps across her waist.

“Well, baby? This isn’t something I can help you with. You have to find out what you should do. This is a good thing to practice, figuring out how best to use your time.”

I’d not realized I was speaking to myself the whole time.

What should I do?

Whatever I want.

There is no right or wrong. There are no “shoulds”. There’s only stuff. There are only directions. And there is no one direction that is better, really. All avenues exist for the sole purpose of experience for which the Universe specifically designed to explore itself.

Feelings are irrelevant. Hesitation matters not. Everything just is (isn’t it?).

▪▪▪

“I hope you can heal,” he offers.

“I will,” there’s a pause, “But I’ll mope first.”

▪▪▪

“Mommy, what happened to your eye?” her face leans in closer as her nose pulls up to her eyes.

“Nothing, it’s just a shadow,” sister asserts.

“No, no, what happened to your eye?”

“It’s just a shadow!”

“Why? What does it look like?” I’m covered in the electric blanket as the dark curtain covers the window. Eaten alive.

“It looks black???”

“I was crying earlier?”

In unison everyone sighs to agree that it is not a shadow but an unfortunate failure of makeup as it surrendered to the force of my tears.

▪▪▪

I lied to him. I told him I’d always be there.

That hurts, too.