Friday, October 22, 2010

Prepare to Meet Your Maker

{photo by erica}

I closed the door behind me and locked it.

I lit a few votive candles and placed them around the edge of the bathtub, which was filling with water.  I squeezed the oversized bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid that I had grabbed from under the kitchen sink over the tub, and watched the stream of blue-green gel magically transform to bubbles under the hot stream of water.  It was either dishwashing soap or bubble gum-scented Mr. Bubble bubble bath, a gift from Barbara (their grandmother) to Claire last Valentine’s Day.

I huffed as I bent over my protruding belly in an effort to shimmy off the navy blue leggings that I’d worn all day.  The legging knees were thin and faded, attesting to the fact that I spent much of my day on the ground reading, conducting “story time,” and collecting stray toys.    I turned off the light.  I was too scared and self-conscious to look at my body in the harsh and unforgiving glare that the 100-watt bulbs flanking the bathroom mirror would have bathed me in.  My bra was enormous.  “Body armor for the pregnant woman,” I thought to myself.  As the tub filled, I finally snuck a peek at my reflection in the mirror.  Shit.  I’d read about men who found pregnant women’s bodies beautiful -- a turn-on even -- testimony to her femininity and reproductive power.  But I just saw Shamu.  I was big, and white.  One blue vein that stretched across my stomach caused me to wonder momentarily if one of the daycare kids had dragged a marker across it without me noticing.

I carefully dipped my foot into the hot water.  The Dawn dishwashing liquid was doing its thing rather successfully.  Mounds of glistening white bubbles beckoned, and I was happy to take warm refuge under them.

The bubbles crackled and popped as I slowly swished around before sinking below the top layer.  Using my foot, I turned the water off and closed my eyes, reveling in the sudden quiet.  I could hear Claire playing in the room next to the kitchen that had been turned into a playroom.  She was announcing her costume, one piece at a time.  She must be using the costumes in the dress-up basket.  In the background the TV droned on, and I was pretty sure that I heard “Walker Texas Ranger,” Mike’s favorite show.  I pictured him and my stepson, Ryan sitting on the couch, one at each end, a pillow held to their stomachs, as they became engrossed in the take-no-prisoners action/drama.  They spent most of their “quality” time either in front of the television or on a baseball field.  On a field or court seemed to be the only forum in which they could communicate and bond.  Maybe that’s how most fathers and sons connected -- I wasn’t sure.  I just knew that there had also been times that Mike had tried to teach Ryan how to wash the car or mow the lawn properly, but those had been brief lessons that usually ended with Mike yelling and Ryan sulking in his room.

Tomorrow, Ryan would be going to his Grandmother’s house.  I wasn’t quite sure about the turmoil of emotions I was feeling, but the overwhelming sense of relief knowing there was one less thing to worry about had unquestionably buoyed my spirits.

I looked over the mountain of breasts and stomach bobbing amidst the glittering dish soap bubbles that filled the tub.  At the end of the bathtub, stacked like an awkward, plastic orgy, were five naked Barbie dolls with stiff matted hair that stood straight up.  Their long limbs and nipple-less breasts made me laugh, as I silently compared my real body to the toy female icon.  The candles flickered and outlined the shadow of my belly on the wall in the bathroom, and I couldn’t help but think about how I felt more like a bomb-shelter than a bombshell.

There was a knock on the bathroom door.


It was Claire.

“Mommy’s taking a bath sweetheart!” 

“I know.  But…Mommy?”

“Yes Sweetie?”

“Can I have a glass of milk?”

I briefly wondered why she hadn’t asked Mike.  She knew he was in the living room.  There must be a commercial break.  That stupid show was probably even a re-run.


“Honey, can you go ask your Daddy?  He can pour you a glass of milk.”

There was a pause, a short silence followed by the patter of little feet disappearing into the living room, then shortly reappearing.

“Mommy?  Daddy’s show is on.  Can you get it?”

I sighed and lifted my heavy body out of the tub, rivulets of soapy water cascading down my swollen bosom and belly.

“Just a minute, Honey, I’m coming."

As I pulled my fortress of a body from my bubbly sanctuary, I mentally raised my fist at “Walker, Texas Ranger.”  A round-house kick to the face from Chuck Norris would apparently defeat half the hardened criminals in the Texas dustbowl, but I would pay to see him come face to face with a naked, pissed-off, hormonal, pregnant woman.  Picturing this showdown, in what would be the last episode ever, was my only revenge on Bill for his absentee parenting.  My heroine rose from the tub, blood boiling, and uttered the last words Chuck Norris would ever hear:  “Prepare to meet your maker.”

“What, Mommy?”

“Nothing, Honey.  I’m coming.” 

{Excerpt from Before the Light}


  1. write with conviction on a subject that scares the hell out of me. Best of luck onyour journey, and for sure your words will inspire many to comment and ponder. How long have you been writing?

  2. I'm still amazed that anyone could soak in Dawn dish soap! Ouch! ;-)