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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I got up early Saturday morning and sneaked out of the house to go to a yoga class. My mat is my magic carpet. It has lifted me up and off into a place of joy many times. I was in need of a magic carpet ride. As I sat on my mat before class started, I closed my eyes and focused on my breath. I could see my heart. I could see the hand wrapped around it, squeezing it. It reminded me of one of those squishy toys found in the impulse buy bins. Instead of a real heart, I had one of those fake plastic squishy things that you squeezed and one side would bulge up and out in some weird bubble. Instead of the weird bubble, my heart just gave up a puff of dust when squeezed. Puff. Wheeze. I physically shook the image from my head and pulled my focus to class, which was great. I laughed and smiled and found joy. Then we came to the end for savasana. I felt the tears pool up and soak into my eye pillow. Back to where I started. 

I got up at the end of class and brushed the dried up salt crystals from my eyes. I didn't stay for the cookies and chai, but quietly slipped out the door and onto the sidewalk. Then I felt something almost familiar on my face. It was the sun. I blinked up at it trying to remember when was the last time I'd seen the sun. Was it three days ago? Four? I couldn't remember. I slowly walked to my car soaking in as much sun as I could, holding onto as much as I could. And I do, making it through Saturday and right on into Sunday. I give the Cabbage a bubble bath, we drink hot cocoa and pick a bedtime story. She chooses my favorite, Helga's Dowry and Michael reads it while the Cabbage and I listen to how smart and clever Helga is to earn her own dowry and not marry that jerk, Lars. It's my bedtime too, but an hour later I'm woken by an inconsolable four year old covered with hives. Michael heads to the store for Benydryl while I put the Cabbage back in the shower. I wash her down with a different soap just to be sure, though she's used the old soap and lotion every time before this and not had a reaction. She screams at me "Why would you use that soap on me if you knew it would make me itch!" I feel like telling her that I used that soap because I like making her miserable, that I love dealing with a crying snotty itchy four year old. It's what I always dreamed about. Instead I tell her that it wasn't the soap, but probably the bubble bath. It's the only thing new added to the bath time ritual. Calgon, take me away into a field of hives.  

I lay there with her while we wait for Michael to get back and rub her back while she continues to point out all the things I do wrong. It doesn't matter that she's stopped itching and only a few hives remain or that she's no longer crying. Finally Michael returns with some medicine, she drinks it down with a smile and then is out like a light. I go back to bed and lay there trying to calm my pulse, quiet the twitch that's started in my right eye. Of course I do everything wrong. I'm not her mother. Despite what everyone else around me says and thinks, I am not even a parental figure. The Cabbage and I both know that I'm nothing more than her maid. I make sure she has clean clothes and decent food. That's about it and I'm barely managing to get that part of the job right. I'm pretty sure that she doesn't even like me. When she says goodbye, she has to be told to hug me goodbye and most of the time her reply to that is a "no". I cringe a little bit on the inside when they make her. Forcing her to hug me is only going to make her like me even less. It doesn't matter that I was the one that suggested we go to a McDonald's Play Place when SmaLand was too full at IKEA or make a trip to the aquarium. I'm the one who purposely uses soap that gives hives. "I can't do this." I think to myself, but don't say it out loud, not ready to own those words. But I feel myself sinking back into myself, shutting off and down. Back to where I started. Puff. Wheeze. 

There's this thing going around about how on January 4th all the planets are going to line up and mess with earth's gravity for like a minute or two. At 9:47 PST AM, if you jump into the air you will experience a feeling of weightlessness. It's a complete hoax. Totally not real. A cosmic joke to see how many people jump up into the air on Jan. 4th at 9:47 PST AM. I wish it wasn't a hoax. I wish I could jump up and for a moment feel weightless. I wish it was more than just a moment. Winters are so hard. I should have been born a bear.