It doesn’t matter that the tires screeching in the darkness don’t belong to me. It doesn’t matter that I can see that the truck is, in fact, able to stop, or that I know everyone inside is safe. It doesn’t matter that it has been two weeks since the accident. I am there again.
The tires screaming, begging the road to hold us. My daughter screaming, begging me to make it stop. “Mama! Mama!” With my whole self I try but I cannot.
Torn. My skin is here but the rest of me is there… falling. When will I be whole again?
It doesn’t matter that the baby who screams in my workplace doesn’t belong to me. It doesn’t matter that for more than thirty years I’ve raced to screaming babies and their mamas to see if I could help. It doesn’t matter that it is daytime, that my children are safe at school, nor that at thirteen and fifteen, their voices haven’t sounded like that for many, many moons. It doesn’t matter that I just want to be myself. I am not. Not yet. And so I run away.
The lights are too bright, the shelves too high, the rows too long, and the floor too far away. The baby’s screams pour into my soul. I can’t take it and I run and hide and plug my ears, and when someone asks what I need, I scream that “I need that baby to leave!” And I am too upset to even care about the kind of person I just became.