July 31, 2019 § 14 Comments
By TJ Wood
These days … when 9 p.m. rolls around and you are drained of patience, creativity, focus, the morning spent packing lunches, finding the bike lock key, walking the dog so she doesn’t poop in the house while you’re at work, getting the teenager off to school (without a door slam if you’re lucky), biking to work, answering emails, media inquiries, miscellaneous requests, finally zeroing in on that article you have to finish, getting a draft off for review and now, holy crap it’s 4 pm, where did the day go and you forgot to take stretch breaks, your shoulders hunched and tight from sitting at the damn desk all day and the coffee isn’t strong enough to cut through the mental fog generated by too many simple carbs turning your legs into dimpled, plump marshmallows despite the bike commute that brings you home to find the teen sitting on the couch playing Clash of Clans on his iPad, and you debate a beer or glass of wine while your dear husband prepares carnitas tostadas because the teenager (that doesn’t carry his genes) likes them, and just when you bring plates to the dining room, said teen musters his nasty attitude from thin air, marches off to his room, slams and locks the door, and you sit at the long Indian rosewood table your husband’s parents brought back from Hong Kong more than a half century ago, staring at the food on your plate, appetite evaporated, and you tell your husband of the phone call that afternoon from your daughter, the 28-year-old recovering heroin addict, and that you just don’t know what to do, how much to trust, what to believe, and you deal with the teenager later after he comes from his room to sit alone at the table large enough to fit a dozen at Christmas, devouring two tostadas in his simmering anger that doesn’t crack until bedtime when he confesses that he is still mad you cheated on his dad a decade ago with your now husband and lectures you that “people shouldn’t do that,” a conversation you’ve had several times and will continue to have thanks to a bitter ex-husband who can’t let go of this transgression bigger than any sin anyone has ever committed since humans walked upright, and you sigh in frustration, knowing you won’t win this battle tonight and no amount of discussion is going to help him in the present moment as he marches off to bed in a huff … you glance at the nightstand where notebook and pen wait and think, I have absolutely nothing left in me, what am I supposed to say, how will this memoir ever get written, and you uncap the pen to begin.
TJ Wood is a California-based writer working on a memoir about her journey through her daughter’s heroin addiction and the healing power of nature in the darkest moments. Her creative non-fiction work has appeared in The Rumpus and 100 Word Story. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.