No-Good Day

Jan. 17

Horrible morning. I want to stay in bed all day. I can’t because my kids will be home because the stupid schools are closed. It’s a hard freeze in Houston, and the city is shut down. I don’t want to be a complete craphole of a mother. I have to get out of bed and maybe clean out a closet or something. You know, Dear Diary, fill our free day with something constructive.

But first, here’s how my morning went. Lucy came in, covered in blankets. “I know I’m not supposed to talk to you before you’ve had your coffee, but I think you should know. Dad’s texted me this morning that he’s getting remarried.”

I lay there for a moment. It was either shock or lack of coffee, or both. I could feel tears coming, and I was nauseous.

“I’m pissed, thanks for asking,” she said. I could hardly breathe. “He’s already fucked her, as we all know. Can’t that be enough? Why does he have to go and marry her?”

I had no answer. I hated it when she cursed but that was the least of my worries right now. She looked at her phone and mumbled something about how the power was out in parts of Houston. “I’m going back to bed. I can’t handle this.”

I looked at her and nodded. I still had nothing to say. She turned around in a huff and walked out the door.

I wanted to tell her how sorry I was that all of this happened, but the words wouldn’t come. Now it was final. Our fate was sealed as a family and me as a single mother by a man who walked out on us for another woman. Tears were flowing, and they were bigger than any I had ever shed. Jack was gone, for real. I felt foolish for holding out hope that he would realize his mistake and come home. I fantasized about he would call me one day, ask to talk and beg for forgiveness for all of it, Slutty-slut-slut, the divorce, the pain. In my fantasy, I would have said yes, of course, you’re forgiven, but you will have to sleep on the sofa for a night or two, for at least a sliver of my pride to remain intact. And he agreed, knowing all was back to the way it should be. In every scenario he came home, because we were a family.

Then there’s Claudia Trainer, with her 2,000 Instagram followers and photoshopped selfies, reminding me that my self-esteem was in the toilet. Why, oh why, did I have to run into her at Target? And what she said about Slutty-slut-slut? About how attractive she was? To my face? Thanks, you Smother Mother. How is that constant helicoptering working out for you? Lucy told me your snowflake of a daughter Sheila’s been sending nude pictures of herself to all the boys at school. How has that tidbit escaped your tendrils? And enough with the meal train. If I haven’t asked for one since the divorce over six months ago, I think I’m good. Dinner is the last thing on my mind. Stop bringing it up. Just stop.

Then, Dear Diary, peace came over me as something touched the sides of my memory. Was it true? My eyes lit up. Did I really forget to do that? Or was I saving it for a truly horrifying day, like today? Did I accidentally on purpose forget to throw away those leftover M&Ms from Halloween that are stashed under my bed? Obviously why they were there didn’t matter as much as the fact that they were there, waiting to console me, as if a gift from the universe saying, “There, there, it will be okay.”

I know enough about this charade to know these M&Ms will ultimately cause more pain than joy, but, for a moment, they are so delicious, so filling, so comforting. Damn cleaning my closet on this day off. Damn my food plan. These taste so good, and everything, just for this moment, is okay. The reckoning that loneliness was my new reality is overwhelming, and I keep eating more, hoping against hope that they will take away some of the pain, knowing they will just make me fatter, which is probably why Jack left in the first place. And now, sad that the M&Ms are gone, but comfortably happy that the sugar rush is setting in, I feel warm and cozy. I think I’m going to go to sleep. Good night, Dear Diary. Hopefully when I wake up the world will be a better place, even though I know it probably won’t be.