as familiar as a favorite book

My hackles raised.I smiled when I first saw the boy talking to himself as he entered the youth services area of the library. I wasn't mocking him but thinking, I wonder how often adults caught me conversing with myself at that age?Self-recognition and bemusement quickly gave way to territorial instinct as he approached. Judging this book by his cover, I assumed he was too old to play with the foam blocks, over-sized wooden puzzles and plush story book characters stored in the children's nook....more
cynkingfeeling you are welcomemore

shame with a side of fries

I’m trying not to stare while my coworker eats her lunch.Our de facto break room is in use, so she is at her desk. I’m not sure what kind of sandwich she picked up from McDonald’s because her interaction with the french fries has me enthralled. She removes one fry from the red carton and bites. She chews and swallows before taking another bite. It takes her three bites to consume this single fry.How can she do that? I wonder. I wouldn’t call this mindful eating since she is reading a book, but she is not distracted from her deliberate pace....more

apple music

While I was contemplating whether a wrinkled cantaloupe was worth ninety-nine cents, my autistic six-year-old son was pressing a full-price Fuji apple to his lips. A sound that might have been “nom nom” prompted me to turn around....more

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