As a family, we’re putting a puzzle together. It may be symbolic of something, but I’m tangled up in the memory of Jack screaming in the aisle of the store because he didn’t want a puzzle, he wanted hot wheels. And then I almost had a tantrum because I wanted the fuck out of the store and in the end we bought two puzzles and some Legos because what you do when kids have tantrums is don’t get them what they want but something smaller that you want them to have and that you can play with. (I’m not talking about Michael. I mean me.)
We went to Target for bug spray, urgently. I got out of bed and put on a bra do this; to buy bug spray, with the whole family. First I researched the top six bug sprays on Consumerreports.org. Nineteen mosquito bites had put me under the covers, where I nursed my pride and my wounds and considered taking some Percocet while I edited photographs of the hawk for display on Instagram. God. I hope I get lots of likes for these fucking photographs. Everything I went through to get them. We need bug spray. I can’t go out there again without it. I zoomed in too closely on the hawk. I have to get a better lens. A job. Then a lens. Oh, FUCK INSTAGRAM.
I’m afraid. I was going to write that I’m afraid about inflammation, and bites, and Jack, and inflammation, and me, and my thyroid, and rain, and PTSD, and my children, and heart disease and menopause. The truth is that I’m just afraid. I am fear. You know? Fear is what I am, and rage is what it looks like. I live in this moment, and the next moment and the next one as much as I know how but that song is such bullshit. Yes the fuck I DO know what the next moment’s going to bring. Bullshit. Bullshit and delicious rage that bleeds out of the seams of my person, in the way that I feel nothing when I pet my softest cat, the blue one that stays within 15 feet of me all day long. And in the dead space in my chest when I look at my new camera, waiting for me to breathe life into its lens. And in the way that all I think is killmekillmekillmekillmepleasekillmekillmekillmekillme when there is a space inside my cavernous head, which currently I’m keeping busy with a Robert Pirsig book, maybe not the best choice, but dense and sometimes difficult for my attention challenged mind to follow, which does the trick for my immediate purpose anyway.
I’m sinking into it. It’s not that I AM angry, I tell myself. I AM ANGER. Nothing has to happen. This is zen, right? I am rage. I am Summer. I am covered in mosquito bites.
And better bug spray, maybe and some ice cream and apparently a puzzle? Of Las Vegas, because apparently we’re taking a trip across the country next spring? I am not yet the person who has the skin on their fingers that can make the connection to the keyboard that will type the words that can express their feelings about taking a family vacation with two children to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Flagstaff, so let’s just work on the puzzle.
The next one is the Star Wars one, and I’m excited.
I, just so you know, cannot put together a working train track. But I work a puzzle in a grid pattern, searching for pieces by shape until I find the right one. Line by line like a dot matrix printer, at the same time sorting by color and pattern, I will stand, take the whole thing in and then break it down again and work.
This is designed as a family project, but the children are bored and a little put off by my irritability. I knew while we were standing there in front of the puzzles, and Jack was keening about hot wheels and Michael was saying “Let’s just look online for one we can all AGREE ON” that I should get a puzzle just for myself, a harder one. I was mostly an only child, and I was never taught to share. Plus, they are moving pieces into the wrong piles and just fucking everything up. Defiantly, I worked on it after they went to bed. In solitude.
I don’t have any photos of us harmoniously working on the puzzle and I don’t have a humorous wrap up for this post so I’m going to just leave you with a photo of a fence leading to an ominous tunnel of trees and that should take care of all the loose ends.