Little Boxes 


I had an hour in between when I left work and when I needed to pick my daughter up from preschool.

The concept of free-time has been so foreign to me since the arrival of my second child (the first was hard, but the second sealed the deal) that I stood for a moment, staring at the crease between two concrete slabs outside my car, trying to force my brain to make a choice.

My brain, being the nervous type, sputtered something about eating a meal ALONE and shopping ALONE. My brain was excited, so I got excited and buzzed over to Panera for lunch.

It was quite relaxing, eating without a barrage of questions or the sinking realization that I should have sanitized all accessible surfaces before my toddler systematically licked them. Quite nice.

After food, I wandered into Home Goods, thinking it’s the only time I’ll actually walk into a store that sells reduce-priced “nice things” which we normally can’t have because “this is why.”

I had one thought: containers.

When I begin to feel a scattered/dispersed/out of control, something in me (I suspect that Brain I mentioned before) tells me it’s time to get organized.

So here I am, at the wall of control.

I could put shoes in that big one, toys in that medium-ish one.

Laundry and laundry soap!

These have a gorgeous specificity I cannot do without, but it was about halfway through another aisle of boxes that the other pieces of me that my Brain never listens to or thoroughly understands started churning.

You don’t need more boxes, love.

I stopped and stared. The stillsmallcentered and I have spoken in a while. She’s been quiet. Or perhaps I’ve been loud.

You don’t need more boxes. Let it be. Come when she calls you, and then let it be. 

I always know what she means.

I’ve been searching for a way to fit my Creative Self into the same spheres as all my other selves.

She doesn’t fit there.

I tried to separate my Creative Self from the rest of me. I cornered her into appointments between 8 and 9p, when children are asleep but I’m still able to muster enough energy to stand.  She would let me sit before the keyboard, drowning self-pity in glasses of wine like the desperate & lonely waiting for a blind-date who isn’t coming.

“You must not know ’bout me,” she chides from somewhere unreachable.

She doesn’t fit there either.

Instead she chooses to show up in the moments where a child is voicing her demands for food in monotone repetitions and another is gingerly tossing carefully cut cubes of avocado at the wall as a pot boils over on the glass-top stove. “Once upon a time,” she whispers, and I promptly punch her in the face.

No wonder she stands me up.

Come when she calls and then let her be.  She is Wild.  She is Free. If you want to hear her, let her be.

I walked away from all the boxes woven with sweet-smelling water hyacinth and wandered aimlessly through aisles.  A befuddled gentleman tried to ask me for advice: something regarding throw pillows.  My first thought was, “do I look like the kind of girl who has opinions on throw pillows?  What kind of girl is that exactly?  I feel like she would at least have her hair styled and teeth brushed by noon.”  But while I was deliberating internally, what I said was, “I’m sorry, I’m trying very hard to not exist right now,” which caused the befuddled man more befuddlement, but at least gave me a clean escape.

I found her staring at me from a basket on the Clearance aisle.

You must not know ’bout me.

I paid seventy cents for her, and the pocket journal she was affixed to.

I guess I bought a container after all.  This is the one she wanted.

Not a box, but a page.  Not a limit, but an outlet.

Perhaps when I bend back the cover and hold a pen over the pages, she will throw back her wild hair adorned with silver and gold to whisper, “Once upon a time.”

Perhaps she wont, too, but I’m willing to find out.

Regardless, I’m now late to pick up my daughter so she has succeeded in her only distinguishable goal which is to add chaos and color to my existence.

Muse:245, Sarah: what game is this again?