Write On!

Soul Blubber

In Responses on January 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

by Jen Gregory

I wish that liposuction worked like the steam stick in Starbucks. The barista places a cup of cold milk under the little stainless steel wand, submerges it in the white cream and presses the lever. Kkkksshhhuu. Ttss. The sound tickles me somewhere inside, causes shivers down my back. The milk becomes softer, lighter as it gurgles up to the top and froths over the edge, I bet it feels really good. I wish the surgeon could place a wand like that under my skin. Instead of sucking out fat it would just heat and warm up all of the cold and hard places inside of me. I don’t want things removed, I want the ice to melt so what is there can be free again.

I don’t know when my heart turned arctic. I’m not sure when the temperature of my soul began to drop, I just kept putting on more things to make myself warmer. Four kids. Two cosmetic procedures. Spa treatments. PTA. Church activities. My heart got fat. Without realizing it I was storing up, creating layers of blubber around my own soul so that I wouldn’t feel the chill creeping in around me. The chill of an alcoholic husband, the bitter cold of rejection and the tundra of stuff life throws at you. I threw layers of stuff on my heart so I’d feel warm.

How many days can I keep pretending that I am okay? I’m not. I can’t feel anything at all. I’m overweight and heaven knows liposuction wouldn’t hurt but it’s my insides weighing me down. I should be able to feel this stuff. My mom, my marriage, our finances. I should be hurting, crying right now, but I can’t. I’ve insulated everything that matters with a thick coat of blubber.

A Vente Starbucks drink with whipped cream and those dad gum cake pops don’t help either. Doritos, lasagna, candy and don’t forget the ice cream. The blubber is made up of that stuff too. I’ve decorated the outside to cover up the problem. I get my hair done every six weeks, my nails done every two. I go to the Spa, I shop like a mad woman, in the plus sizes. I look pretty good for my weight and age.

There are two young people next to me. They think I’m on my computer but I’m listening to them. He loves her but she is oblivious. I can tell you exactly what they are feeling. She keeps her fingers on her phone, she is waiting for a call, a message, something to light her up. He keeps running his hands through his hair, elbows on the table and although he is drinking his coffee he doesn’t seem to notice it. His eyes stay on her, his body language says he is desperate to capture her, keep her still. She is pretty with her silky brown hair and full lips, but she is clueless. I’m thinking he could do better.

I could write out their past, present and future for you. It seems so obvious to me. I can’t tell you a thing about myself though. Tom is in rehab right now. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in two weeks. The kids are in school. Cami hasn’t seemed to be hurt much but she is seventeen, she is happy for her dad. The younger three are devastated. My twin boys Carson and Collin have had detention twice in the last two weeks. Baby girl, Cate, has been in the red every day. If I look at my phone there are three text from the school but I don’t open them, not yet.

Tom has called no less than two times a day. I don’t answer. He talks to Cami on her phone but I can’t do it, I’m too busy cleaning up his mess, trying to earn money to make up for the job he lost. Trying to pay our bills and finding my mother a place to live. She has been in the hospital for three months. I’ve been going by every day to check on her and now they say she needs long term care. Care I can’t give her so I’m looking for facilities in a price range she can afford. I’ve found exactly none. I’ve put her on the prayer chain and asked my friends to pray for a miracle. Meanwhile Tom is sitting in a room “fixing” himself. That’s it. I get the his mess, my mess, the kid’s mess and my mom’s mess while he just works on making himself feel better!

I’m updating my website right now. I need more clients. I sell life insurance, Scentsy, Mary Kay and Pampered Chef. Lets me be with my kids. I’ve applied for some full time work but hardly any of it pays more than what I make and little of it offers any type of real health care or retirement plans. Hopefully in four more weeks Tom can start looking for a job. I’ve researched some options for him earlier this week. By the grace of God he avoided a felony charge this last time so he is still a fairly attractive job candidate as long as he isn’t completely honest on his applications, that is.

He’s never been honest about anything else. No need to start now. Cami says he sounds different. I told her of course he did, he’s sober for once. She says he has changed and for good, that he wants to come to church with us. I’ve heard all of it before but I don’t tell her that. She asked me if I loved him. Of course I do, at least I remember loving him. She cried and said she felt like I didn’t care about her dad, that she loved him and wanted our family to work out, that if he got sober there should be no reason not to push forward and be a real family again like when she was little. When she was little and thought “drunk” daddy was fun? When she was little and went to bed at eight before he had had his fourth beer?

Everything she said just bounced right off my blubber coated soul and I found myself thinking, I wish it would hit her in the face, this reality that I know about, that she could understand. I felt bad for wanting that to happen to her but I’m sick of feeling like the bad guy. Cami, she doesn’t have blubber, everything soaks into her fertile little heart like water on good soil because she is a good girl.

I’ve changed up my web page, sent out notes to all my clients, sent out some new e-mails, updated my Facebook and Twitter statuses and have a list of twenty people to call about life insurance options. My latte is getting lukewarm. I should get up and head home, do a load of laundry, prepare for dinner. This leather chair is warm now, I’m sunk into it and it has molded perfectly to my hips. The kkkksshhhuu.ttss. of the steamer sends pleasant shivers down my back, the cacophony of people chattering and the coffee grinder in the background make for a delicious sort of mental pudding, my thoughts can’t float away here.

I reach for my leather bag and place two shiny red nails into my wallet to grab my debit card. The one with only three hundred dollars left on it. I head to the counter and order another latte. Whole milk, whipped cream? Yes. Forever yes. I go back to my chair and as I do I hear the sound. Kkkksshhhuu. Ttss.

My latte is getting warm. I grab the edges of my fur trimmed sweater and pull it around me snug. I want to feel warmer but as I see the froth in my cup slip out over the edges I’m just not sure I’m ready to clean up the mess that comes with it. My phone is ringing, it’s Tom. I hit the ignore button just as the barista hands me my drink. It’s really hot so I grab the little cardboard sleeve and put it around the cup so I don’t get burned. I think I’ll stay here a little longer.

  1. Wow, that resonates!

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