Friday, August 7, 2009


There was always a good reason to get out of bed,  Alma's mother told her repeatedly as a child.  This morning, as she yawned hugely and slipped her husband's hand off her ample hip, a new box of cereal was her motivation to leave the snug cocoon of her bed.  The room was all shadows,  the sun succumbing to laziness on this sleepy August morning.  Her eyes were open wide, as if stretching them to such a capacity would overcome the darkness.  As it commonly did, the edge of her dresser grumped her in the soft flesh of one thigh, and she had to suck in air quickly to keep from cursing.  She deliberately did not brush her teeth this day, the wee minutes of the morning too precious to spare on such trivial routine.  The boys were still asleep, so she had the liberty of pittering about in her t-shirt and panties.  

At the sink now, she reached across it and eased up the reluctant window.  She heard the night crickets and smiled; the unusual breeze that grazed her face a cool kiss.  Glancing down,  she saw that she had left a stick of her charcoal near the dish soap; now it made a gritty, black trail to the drain.  Maybe she should give up the sketch she started last week.  She mulled this over as she swiped the sink clean with a sponge.  She caught the deviant jiggle of the flesh on her arm.  Better yet, why not give up the diet that wasn't working? 

Alma liked Lucky Charms more than the boys did.  It made them laugh to come home and find her in the backyard, daydreaming about a deck and delicately balancing her oversized purple bowl on one palm.  On her good days, she'd be air-sketching with her spoon.  On her not-so-good days, the strong, steady crunches and quiet spoon told them to lay low.  She hadn't yet figured out their cereal mood indicator method yet.  She just thought they were good kids.  

Her purple bowl ready, she wondered again why they ever stopped putting prizes in the cereal boxes.  Cracker Jack still did.  Her children and children all over the country missed out on a great Saturday morning ritual - eating through a box of Frosted Flakes just to find the toy hidden within,  wrapped in thin plastic and covered with the fine, powdered crumbs of cereal at the bottom of the box.  She hummed softly, pushing a strand of unruly brown hair behind one ear. The crickets had reached their finale and now only a few renegade chirpers delivered delinquent encores.  It was going to be hot, she knew, as she pushed open the back screen door with one toe and emerged into the morning,  her mouth happy and full,  her chin divided by a thin stream of sweet milk.  


CJAlabama said...

You inspire me.