Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

“Who the hell would do this?” She barks at Sam.

They are up to their dusty eyebrows in broken tile, rotting fiberglass and pieces of popcorn ceiling.

He turns and sees that the old towel bar she’s holding sports a large chunk of what used to be their bathroom wall. The massive, chalky piece is clinging to the bar for dear life, no intention of letting go.

“Good Lord, Jill, how about a little less demo? We’re not going for open concept here. Try leaving the wall where it is.”

He’s tired. They both are. She gets it. This reno has been a whole lot more work than they’d bargained for.

“I know, sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose though. The bar was like, Crazy Glued to the wall. There aren’t even any screws here or anything.”

“Idiots,” he says with a sigh. “Why would they do that?”

She finishes her work in silence. They have enough on their plates.


Joe and Barbara turn the key together. They are so excited to own their first home they don’t even notice that the lock is rusty or that the key barely makes it out upon their firm yank.

With the door open, Nathan lets go of Barbara’s other hand and teeters his way down the hall. Barbara, nine months pregnant, waddles after him. Baby number two due any day, her back is sore and she’s more tired than she’s ever been in her life. The move has taken its toll.

Joe wanders from room to room, seemingly over moon, and honestly, he is, but deep down, he’s smothering fear. How is he going to pay for this? He can’t bear to tell Barb there’s been talk of lay-offs at work. This came, of course, after they decided to make baby number two and after they signed the papers for the house.

A year in, they’re barely making ends meet. Joe is laid off. Baby number two is sick. Medical insurance disappears along with Joe’s job. Things in their new old house are falling apart. The roof needs repairing, the electrical has to be rewired, their hot water tank blows.

Fear has triumphed in the struggle and is now smothering them both, so when Nathan accidentally pulls the towel bar off the wall, Barbara quietly glues it back on.

“It’s okay, sweetheart,” she whispers, stroking his soft, pale hair. It’s all better now, don’t worry.”

She doesn’t tell Joe. They have enough on their plates.


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I rubbed and polished it with my cloth fresh and new, unsuspecting and ever willing, still stiff and crisp. The more I scoured, the brighter it shone.

I took it everywhere. I kept it in my pocket, under my hat or tucked into the toe of my right shoe. At night, it rested underneath my downy pillow, just below my dreaming mind. In the shower, hot soapy water spilled over it, suds trailing the day’s slough down the drain and deep into the pipes.

For a while, well, years really, I barely noticed it apart from the effort it took to make it glisten. But as time went on, my polishing cloth grew black and flecked with holes, limp and lifeless, and what was once light became cumbersome, too big to keep in my shoe or under my hat.

More years passed and despite great efforts, my ratty cloth, now a rag, didn’t bring even a hint of shine, its once brilliant gleam forever lost under many layers of shadows and clouds.

The days, months…years slipped by and it lived on, more than lived, it thrived, growing bulky, bigger, heavier and harder than ever before. Once coveted and craved, now clunky and colossal.

Towing it behind, I trudged through the murk and came to a stop. This was the place…the point where I couldn’t carry it anymore, my body refusing to take one more step.

After years, a lifetime, I, at long last, let it go. Heaved away, it spiraled outwards in a frenzy of rejection and I watched, waiting for it to descend to the dismal, dreary bottom. Drained, exhausted, it took me some time to realize that it was not sinking; it was instead me, rising to the top.

Weight Lifter

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