Just for the hell of it, she chose a recipe that had ingredients she already had on hand. Midnight tonight there would be a full moon, and the handwritten note in the margin indicated that made the recipe work even better.
Freezing her butt off, hoping fervently that her son would not wake up for his nightly pee and escort back to bed, she finished, and sat back on her heels in her yard and looked at her handiwork.
At first, nothing happened, and then there was a small jump. A twitch. Then the old Raggedy Ann doll sat up. It stretched, and looked around. Touching the painted mouth, it tilted its head quizzically, as if to ask what she wanted, and why she had not given her a mouth that works.
Explaining to the EMT why she was found naked in the yard with a rag doll was not easy, but eventually they accepted her response and suggested that perhaps she ought not to drink quite that much wine in the future. The doll agreed, silently.
She tried counting her breaths. She thought that maybe it would help her get perspective on the world, and her place in it. Every moment was an eternity, a lifetime passing by. Minute by minute, she did nothing. She thought, that with such astounding apathy and resounding worthlessness that time would at least stand still.. that perhaps the universe just couldn’t bear to have -nothing- happen.. that it would wait for her.
Of course, it did not. And she lost count of her breaths. One day always was the next. The dishes she cleaned today she cleaned tomorrow.
Perhaps the universe was standing still, and she was merely performing these tasks for the amusement of some higher power. Like that video game she used to play. Now make the cartoon mother pee. Now make her clean up poop. Now make her pass out in exhaustion for an hour on the couch. Now make her despair.
There was no point, really, except The Future. Everything she did was for The Future. Someday, the kids would be grown up. Some day, they would do .. something. And it was her job to make sure they made it to that day.. the day when perhaps he would fix someone’s pebak prbolem, or she would get the office record in calls logged. The plates she was washing today were the plates they would dirty tomorrow. And tomorrow, and tomorrow.
Not so bad after all, she supposed. She was banking time. Building a foundation. Making sure that he did not become the next psychopathic party clown. Making sure that she understood the potential of her mind as well as the potential of her short skirts. Grinding away at the future, until it wore her through.
She lost count of her breaths, and it was just as well. She might be tempted to hold them, for as long as she could.. just to see if tomorrow came.