I’m linking up again today with the Red Dress Club. We’re doing “flash fiction.” If you’re unfamiliar with flash fiction, think of it as a condensed short story. Shorter than short. The word count for flash fiction typically ranges from 100 to 2000 words.
and the prompt I’ve chosen is:
I’m trapped in the mire; the thick, dripping, caramel-like consistency of my mommy brain. Neurons fire in a mad frenzy, crashing into one another–then disappear, POOF— in a cloud of dust. I am incapable of a single coherent thought.
OVERLOAD. OVERLOAD. CANNOT COMPUTE.
I’m so exhausted I’m falling asleep at the pump. The Medela Pump In Style, that is. Though there’s nothing stylish about it.
I sit, boobies locked and loaded to this dreadfully slow contraption (the one I got to use in the hospital was like a Mercedes, while this was more like a Yugo):
Listening to the obnoxiously loud motor, rivaled only by the obnoxiously loud screaming of my twin baby girls. One is howling in my lap, the other lies on the floor next to me, red faced and squawking. Fortunately with all this carrying on my let-down reflex is uninhibited; yet the noise is closing in on me, trapping me in its tight web.
Sometimes you can say the same word over and over until it becomes a string of meaningless sounds. Well, the crying is kind of like that, too. Soon it barely interrupts my tired trance. I’m staring at the wall, one forearm holding the pump’s parts in place with my free hand pressing a paci into Abby’s mouth. I realize my mouth is sagging open and that it’s time to switch out bottles. Which is messy and complicated with a baby in one’s lap. Let’s not even talk about how many times I’ve spilled milk on the carpet trying to do this dance.
It’s January in Kansas, and bitterly cold outside. Because the girls are preemies, their risk for RSV is exceptionally high and their neonatologist told us not to take them out. Too many germs. So we’re sequestered. Only my husband uses his Get Out of Jail Free card for work every day and has intelligent conversations with actual adults. He also gets a regular shower. He eats meals in peace, even if they’re sometimes rushed.
Me? My hair is filthy. I smell like milk. I’ve been wearing the same pair of pajamas for three (going on four) days. Sometimes after the girls are fed, burped, and freshly diapered, I swaddle them tightly and strap them into their vibrating Fisher-Price seats. I turn on their white noise machine, poke the pacifiers in, and pull their bedroom door closed behind me. Then I go to my room, closing my door quietly behind me.
I’m trapped. I crawl into my bed, close my eyes and pray they fall asleep.