23 (hazy)

In the morning, I wake up disoriented, but I don’t tell anyone. I don’t voice my concerns about any type of problem with my body or mind. It’s a temporary privilege to believe that showing weakness won’t harm you. In this day in age, children are encouraged to share everything. Feelings, sadness, every bump and cut had from falling too fast. Once the burden of keeping in one’s pain has been lifted, the hard work is done. So the young think. I’ve seen what happens when people complain about arthritis or question where they are. Just like in hospitals, if there’s nobody to advocate for you, the treatment is often sour.

I wake up every morning in my old bedroom with the vanity and the black antique dresser. My husband isn’t there, but it’s not because he’s dead. It’s because he gets up early to walk 3 miles to work. He thinks exercise atones for drinking, but when I wake up in our bed, I’m 26. I don’t care.

I lie in bed and wonder when Lily will start crying. She’s fussier than the others and I can’t tell whether that makes me love her or dislike her more. In five minutes, Sue will run in – her tiny legs bumping against one another as she jumps onto the bed. I’m always surprised she makes it.

“What are we doing today?” Sue asks. I will tell her we are going to the castle and all girls must look pretty.

As soon as I sit up, there is the mirror to remind me.

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