Eyes half open, a long, heavy breath escapes me. I heave my body out of bed and as I hobble to the bathroom I contemplate how long I will hurt. At least fifteen minutes, I decide, before blood flow and juices will redistribute throughout my joints and ease the ache.
My hands lather up into soapy mitts and I yawn as the warm water washes away a few of the morning’s wounds.
Downstairs, the sun has yet to rise as I finish sorting lights from darks and colors from towels but I feel quiet relief as I tap the play button and listen to our laundry embark on its journey to clean.
Hurriedly, I run the hoover over the Berber hoping to lift at least half of the animal hair in my ten second tidy and I thank the powers that be for Lysol Wipes while I do a snappy sweep of the main toilet.
My shoulders throb more than they should as I scoop the litter box, add clean sand, refresh three water bowls and fill up the Kibbles ’n Bits…in triplicate.
A pattern emerges as I throw three pellets into three fish bowls and toss three sandwiches into three brown paper bags; the chill boxes long since deemed uncool.
My joints have eased, if only slightly, so I bound up the stairs with only minutes to dress. I paint my lips crimson and pause only to ensure the lines are crisp and precise.
Leaving for work, I tiptoe into the warmth of three different bedrooms and watch over three children, different, yet somehow the same. I press my lips down firmly on each of their sleepy and incredibly soft cheeks and leave a distinct and definite impression.
I inhale peace; they will understand I was there.
I swallow sorrow; proof wiped away, three times over.