Serenity Now

I shift my weight to my right leg, letting the water cascade over my tired body.  I feel each drop as it hits my neck and shoulders, trying to relax my stiff muscles through sheer force of will.  A fire engine’s siren makes its way through the sound of the water.  It is a sound that we hear all too frequently in this neighborhood.  I hear it coming closer, but I tune it out and lean back under the shower head, letting the water flow over my hair and ears.  The sound recedes into the background of my mind and I once again try to concentrate on being at peace.

Outside I can hear shouting and the sounds of struggle.  A song my mother used to sing to me slips into my head and I try to hold onto it for a few moments as I hear a door slam and footsteps on the stairs.  They will be here soon.  I lose the song, and it is replaced with something I heard on the radio a few days earlier.  Not much time now.  I tense my muscles and then relax them one at a time, trying to work the kinks out for one final time.

I am thinking of my bed, warm and soft, when my body jerks involuntarily at the sound of pounding on the bathroom door.  The shouting is louder now and I can no longer tune out the sound of the sirens.  They are here for me.  I hear a child scream and I know that I only have seconds now.  The door is not locked, although from the way they are trying to break it down they clearly do not know that.  Yet.

There is a huge crash from the hallway and more shouting.  I can no longer go to my happy place, but instead can only think about the choices and events that have led to this moment.  I know that it’s my own fault, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept.  The door bursts open and suddenly they are in the bathroom, a thin plastic curtain now my only protection from the rest of my life.  Slowly, ever so slowly, I reach over and pull the curtain back an inch or two, finally accepting the responsibility for the actions that I took so long ago.  Ready as I’ll ever be, I stare them in the eyes and simply ask, “What?”

“DADDYYYYY!  EDWARD KEEPS HITTING ME WITH HIS FIRE TRUCK!”

Sighing deeply I reach down and turn off the water, pulling the curtain back far enough that I can reach my towel.  With defiance in my eyes I step onto the bathmat and start to dry off.  Someone is getting a time out.

Posted in Humor, Parenting, Shower.

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