As I pried my eyes open this morning, I first poked gingerly at the matted blood in my hair and the neat little lump underneath. Then, as I rolled over and wrested the blankets away from the two interlopers in my bed, another presence in the room swam into focus: the dead mouse on the floor, an annual October tribute from the cat. And I thought: any of these things could have, and indeed, have happened while Darwin is at home, and anyway, even if he was here, he'd be at work now anyway.
The lump is nothing extraordinary. Following best practices for curly hair, after my shower yesterday morning I flipped my head upside down and scrunched anti-frizz stuff into it, and then I came up and made startling, stunning contact with the corner of the medicine cabinet door, left open. I thought it best to remain for a while in a quasi-fetal position, cradling my head and assessing whether I was going to pass out, and when it turned out I wasn't, I realized that I was bleeding all over my hand. One of the girls obligingly ran me up some ibuprofen and water while I took to my bed and stanched the blood with a wad of toilet paper. On the plus side, my hair looked great for the rest of the day if you didn't look too closely at the clots on the top of head.
But I was slow all day, a week of single parenthood catching up with me. Part of my problem is little sleep. I scrape wallpaper at night like a madwoman, and around midnight I talk to Darwin on the west coast, who is running three hours earlier than me. Then I feel at loose ends. On the first night he was gone, I decided to watch a movie by myself -- something I don't generally do; I'd always rather watch with people. But there I was, and Netflix was streaming The Wings of the Dove. You remember that one? Helena Bonham Carter? I didn't remember it, which is why the full-frontal sex scene at the end caught me completely off-guard, leaving me to contemplate HBC's consummate acting skill and total lack of assets elsewhere. On the literary side, I'm going to the library today to check out The Wings of the Dove, as I am convinced that Miramax took some liberties with Henry James's novel.
The next night, I went for something I thought I did remember, Madame Bovary with Mia Wasikowska. I've liked Mia Wasikowska ever since she played Jane Eyre, and I thought, "Okay, I didn't like Madame Bovary's character when I read the book almost twenty years ago, but costumes! Setting! Mia!" Hmph. Madame Bovary is even more frustrating than I found her when I was 17. Then I just thought she was shallow; now that I'm married and have a household of my own, I see her moping about her own superiority while doing absolutely nothing, and I want to yell, "Read a book! Write something! Create something! If you think there's no culture in your provincial town, bring some to it!" But Madame Bovary is too self-centered to evangelize for her vision of culture. She takes and takes and expects no consequences, and in a particularly modern move, racks up so much debt buying stuff on credit that she'd rather kill herself than see her finery repossessed. If it were simply a story about debt, she'd just be pathetic, but she feels neglected by her doctor husband, who has to work, and she scratches that itch on the side with two different lovers, who both use her the same way she uses them. Plenty of sex here too, but blah, adultery.
After that I thought maybe it was time to stop watching movies. So I took to going to bed with Alexander Hamilton (plenty of historical precedent there) and have found myself carried along by Ron Chernow's fine writing, while receiving an education on the Federalist Papers and how important it was for the nation to assume the states' debts after the ratification of the Constitution. And then of course there's Hamilton, the musical, which is running through my head on an endless loop. In a rather unsuitable bit of musicality, I sing King George's song as a lullaby to William.
Speaking of William, age almost 22 months, he and I had a conversation this morning.
W: Mom! Mom! Mamamama!
Me: Oh, do you remember the mouse on the floor this morning?
W: No. (thoughtfully) No. (excited) No! No! No!
Me: I swept up the mouse, like this, and I carried it downstairs, and I threw it out the back door.
W: (laughs) No! (points to his crib) That is... no...
Me: Do you see Jack's sock in your crib?
W: No, no, no, no, no... no... yes. Jack's sock.
Me: What is Jack's sock doing in your crib.
W: (long eloquent string of babble)
Me: What are you saying, Billy?
It might be time to find some adult conversation, but I feel so dragged out what with children talking to me and my aching head that I fell asleep on the phone with Darwin last night. I have even taking to drinking coffee, which is always an extreme measure for me.
Darwin is back at 2:00 this morning, and stays for two days before he flies out for another week. Blah, single parenthood.