one for the road

“Can I borrow this glass?”My sister-in-law shakes the drink ware, rattling half-melted ice cubes. It’s not actually glass. I don’t own an actual glass. She has been imbibing from a blue plastic tumbler from a set of four purchased at Target. All my possessive instincts kick in. They aren’t fancy, but they are mine. I’m unwilling to part with a single one, even temporarily.“Use this instead.”...more

I've been sleeping around and I'm exhausted

I vacated our marital bed two weeks ago after my husband underwent surgery to remove a growth in his ear. Neither of us slept much the night after the mastoidectomy. Peter was hyped up on steroids given to reduce swelling and catching up on all the cigarettes he couldn’t smoke during his ten hours in the hospital. I kept getting up to make sure he wasn’t bleeding to death. I ended up dozing in our recliner.When Peter finally crashed the following evening, I cautiously joined him in bed. The next morning, Peter encouraged my exodus....more

bus stop

I felt a twinge driving to work on my son's first day of kindergarten. I wanted to stay home to see him get on the school bus. It was irrational. Being there the first time wouldn’t help me control what happened after the yellow doors closed. Still, I thought how that would be the first of countless times I wouldn’t be there for pick-up or drop-off. It was one of those moments that made me hate working outside the home. But there would be no home without my job, so off to work I drove....more

hands on experience

Using my backpack for a pillow, I stretched out on the padded bench and closed my eyes. I was too wired from free coffee and weeks of accumulated worry to sleep, but I had run out of diversions.  I'd arrived too late for art therapy in the lobby. I'd eaten the turkey sandwich I'd packed. I couldn't concentrate on my book. I had a list of people to call, but nothing to report. I'd paced the family lounge as if logging steps on a pedometer. I had at least three more hours to kill plus the drive home, so a nap seemed prudent....more

avoiding (tongue) depression

“He’s doing better, right? He shouldn’t have to go to the doctor. I mean, why put him through the stress?”My husband must have heard the pleading in my voice because he agreed that our son seemed to be on the mend. Philip no longer sneezed out hunks of snot. He hadn’t coughed in my face for hours. He ate and drank normally, ran no fever, and had the energy to knock over our bookcase. Twice. When Philip fell asleep, I was hopeful that he would be fully recovered by morning so I wouldn’t have to put myself through the stress of taking him to the doctor....more

I was going to write a book

I was going to write a book.I purchased a narrow-ruled, spiral-bound notebook to record all the details. I dated the entry, described my arrival in Chicago, jotted down the name of the suburban chain hotel and even immortalized my room number. Let's say it was 405. Back in Room 405, after the mixer, I wrote about the following conversation. If I could find that notebook, I could tell you the name of the man with whom I shared my aspirations.Let's call him Dave....more

smoke gets in your eyes

I sensed the sudden brightness through closed eyelids. I blinked and sat up. The bedside clock declared it was 1:00 am. Peter leaned against the doorway beside the now on light switch.“I need you to,” he wheezed, “help me sit down.”...more

it was supposed to be simple

The brochure on myringotomy provided by the ear, nose, and throat specialist outlined what to expect before, during, and after ear tube placement. Geared towards parents, the pamphlet’s cover featured a boy, hooked up to an IV, smiling up at his dad and surgeon....more


When I called the ENT’s office for the eighth time in ten days to find out the results of the CT scan, the receptionist didn’t have to ask for Peter’s date of birth.“Oh, yes, let me pull his file.” For the first time in eight calls, she had an update.She read from his chart, “This says your husband has a cholesteatoma. Surgery in a tertiary care center will be required.” Her voice trailed off. “Let me find the nurse to explain this to you.”...more

my blue period

It was too nice outside to wear my dark winter coat. Spring had finally arrived, and I was ready to ditch the heavy parka. A glance in the closet revealed no season-appropriate alternatives suitable for work, so I left the house wearing a black sweater.It began to rain.My gray umbrella helped, but I still had goose bumps as I dodged raindrops on my way into the office. Happy for an excuse to get away from my desk, I drove to the Goodwill Store during my lunch break. My mission: find a raincoat....more