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A Morning in My Life Imitating Cormac McCarthy
The Road of Life
It was a cool and dreary gray morning. Mom reaches over and touches her five year old son, the child having gotten into bed with her during the night. Mom rose and got dressed. Mom put on a worn pair of jeans and a T-shirt.
Mom shook the bed to wake the son. He burrowed deeper into the blankets like a moth building a cocoon. Mom told him that food would be ready when he was. He erupted from a corner of the bed covers. He fell nearly naked and squirming onto the dull brown floor. He then launched in a burst of speed to his room, his footsteps slapping like hard blows on a wood door as he ran.
Mom padded to the daughter’s room. She was ensconced in a cocoon of pink, an image of a too-young sleeping beauty. The beauty stretched out as if to awaken before pulling the blankets back to create her own, pink cocoon.
Mom heard the plaintive wailing of a child in need of food. He sat nearly dressed in front of the table. Mom pulled down two pop tart packages and presented them, all she had. He whined that he had no choices. There was nothing that he liked. Mom put a paper plate in front of him and a glass of water. If he wanted a choice from the chocolate and smores pop-tarts, it was the water and emptiness in front of him, she said. The white plate seemed to engulf his awareness.
Mom told him, you have a choice. It is one of those two pop tart choices or it is nothing at all. He sipped the water. It was a delay tactic for the dream of something better, for chocolate donuts or pancakes made with syrup. Those things Mom did not have. He reluctantly ripped open a Pop Tart wrapper. It was chocolate.
You’re a mean mom, he said.
Mom knows. And at least you are getting food from me, when many children these days get nothing at all, Mom told him.
A half hour later, Mom pulled daughter off the bed by her feet. She slid out of the pink cocoon like a present from a box. She tried to curl up upon the floor. Mom told her to get up and get dressed. It was time to go to daycare and to work.
Mom said food was upon the table. If she did not eat it before it was time to go, she would eat the daycare’s food. She hates daycare food. She ripped off her pajamas like a corn husk and pulled on a dress. She poured out pop tarts onto the plate. Mom put pink shoes upon her feet. We have a long walk ahead.
A few minutes later, we were on the road. Mom drove the car. They sat in their car seats. There are dreams and destinations. Yet there is always the grey concrete and black asphalt beneath the tires. Always to the road. The endless grey road. Will we ever be done traveling on the road?