I wake from my driving coma in time to notice I’ve missed my exit. Somehow I’m speeding under the overpass I usually take to get to my ¼-mile long office building.
Instantly, I’m foggy and confused. The bridge I just zoomed past looks exactly like an overpass on a different interstate route that takes me to some of my favorite shopping. I start to panic, wondering if I’ve somehow veered onto 670E.
I dial GB’s number.
“Do I pass Easton on my way to work? Usually?”
I sigh. “I’m so tired. I can’t think straight. I don’t know whether I just passed under the Easton Bridge or the Polaris Parkway Bridge. I’m on 71N I think? So that was the Polaris Bridge, right?”
“Maura, you have to get more sleep.”
No. See, that’s not true. I write after everyone else has gone to bed; there’s no way I’d give that up. I do just fine on four hours of shuteye. What I need is more caffeine. Lots and lots of lovely, steaming ounces of it. And then I need to not be behind the wheel of this car. I shake my head. Wait, what day is it? What’s my name?
“Oh, there’s the sign for I-71N. So, the Polaris Bridge, right? I need to turn around.” Great. “Now I have to go all the way to Sunbury,” which is about 10 miles north. I look at the clock. 8:15. I’m going to be so, so, so so so late. Effing eff! Why is everyone going the speedlimit?
The best parking spots were filled an hour ago. I cruise the parking lot with the stubborn hope someone will leave, and when no one does, I head toward the The Parking Lot of Last Resort. I pull up next to some guy who is swapping his gym shoes for business loafers. He looks at my four-inch heels and says, “How can you walk in those?” then smiles like he’s ready to chit chat allllll the way to the entrance. I’m so flustered I forget to note where I’ve parked in a lot filled with thousands of cars that look just like mine.
When I finally arrive at my desk, I slide my laptop into the docking station, fire it up, grab some tea, and come back to find my computer is frozen. I have a brief but seductive daydream about bashing the monitor with my stapler. Instead, I shut down, dial the technology help desk and sip my tea in sulky silence.
At lunch, I choose a bowl of pasta fagioli and the largest piece of corn bread I’ve ever seen. The day is certainly looking up. The fagioli tastes exactly like Spaghettios, and since Spaghettios are secretly awesome, I swivel my chair with happiness until I spill soup all over my suit.
Et tu, fagioli? Et tu???
When I arrive home, my head is pounding. My boys bound toward me with smiley, sticky hugs that knock me to the ground. I unwind immediately, swinging their hands as we walk inside.
“My hammock arrived today,” GB says. This Father’s Day present has been years in the making. Every June, we’ve thought about buying one but we’ve always talked ourselves out of it. This one is bright and red and Brazilian. It wraps around you like a cocoon. I think about a nap.
Suddenly, I can think of nothing else.
GB is playing with the boys somewhere in the yard. I’m in the hammock, with reams of stripey fabric curving above my head. H runs by and gives the hammock a push. Voices fade and…Snoozetown.
I wake with two sets of little knees jabbing my ribcage. The boys wriggle around in the hammock and settle against either side of me. They chat happily then get down to the very important business of assigning super hero roles. O offers to be Captain America, since that’s who is on today’s pair of underpants. H wants to be Iron Man. They ask me to select my alter ego, and strongly suggest I should choose Pepper Potts. I decide I’d rather pretend to be Wonder Woman because of her invisible jet and rockin’ red boots. They’re disappointed.
They smell vaguely of cookies and summertime. I admire O’s Tom Selleck-style chocolate oreo icing mustache. H plays with my fingers. They laugh the same machine-gun giggle I had as a little girl.
If someone were to ask, I would live this day over and over and over. Just to have this moment again with my boys.
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