When she woke on Tuesday, the alarm clock read 9:12 a.m. This was unusual. At 9:12 she should be at work. She made a note on the to-do list and got in her car.
That evening her husband forgot to tell her that his poker club would be at their house on Thursday. On Thursday, he yelled at her for not having beer and munchies for them. He hadn't yelled at her since their honeymoon when she drove their car into a ditch. She cried all the way to Safeway.
On Saturday morning she drove her daughter and her daughter's friends to soccer practice. While the girls practiced, she walked around the lake at the park. She found it odd that despite the warming weather, only a few birds were singing. The girls were so quiet on the way home that she asked if their coach had gotten mad at them. They said no.
Saturday night bridge was a disaster. She missed every bid, and at the break her partner asked if they could rotate. She sat out the last round and watched TV with the kids, but she couldn't understand what was going on in the movie. On the way home she said nothing until her husband asked if she was okay. She told him she had a headache.
The next Friday she and her husband met his boss and his boss's wife at a restaurant for dinner. They ate sushi and talked about baseball. The conversation drifted into gardening, so she mentioned the peonies she had just put in. Everyone stared at her like she had grown horns. She excused herself from the table, and her husband followed. He was not happy. He wanted to know what was the matter. His mouth opened and closed, opened and closed, gulping air, teeth and lips flying, flailing. She couldn't hear what he was saying and she felt bad about it, so she made up words for him to say. You look tired, honey. Why don't you spend some time at the beach? The world will be noisy again soon. I promise.
Kathy Mitchell is pursuing an MFA at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She is also a librarian, and is currently working at the Naropa Audio Archives Project. A native Coloradoan, she lives in Lakewood, Colorado with a crazy old cat. E-mail: katmitch[at]earthlink.net.