A Long Day, a short story by Nikki Watson at Spillwords.com

A Long Day

A Long Day

written by: Nikki Watson



It’s been a long day already and it’s only 7am.

I woke up to a fresh pile of cat barf in my slippers. The coffee filter flopped and my cup was full of grounds. I had to restart the router because the internet was out and I remembered that we were out of daughter’s favorite juice boxes.

The juice box debacle set off a chain reaction! Girl is frustrated – No internet? No juice boxes?!

Boy is now awake too, making his breakfast and is pestering me about being able to go to a friend’s house. Behind him lay the fallout of breakfast dishes and random socks. The fat, orange cat – usually a benevolent, snoozy boy – was hangry and on a mission to remind me it was time for his breakfast. Mission operations included cornering and attacking the dog and placing his portly body in my blind spots causing me to trip more than once.

The dog, my constant companion, rings the tinkle bells to be let outside – but she doesn’t feel like going alone today, so I accompany her with the hopes of chewing my coffee in peace on our beautiful porch while she does her business. The dog rushes off into the long grass and out of the corner of my eye a disaster zone catches my attention – we’ve been ransacked by trash-pandas. Old food wrappers, used coffee filters, discarded fast food packaging and plastic detritus is scattered for roughly a square mile.

I’m not even wearing a bra yet.

The cicadas are active today. If I were trying to have a conversation, I’d have to raise my voice to be heard. The creepy-crawlers were no match for the cacophony of sibling interaction. A shout, a screech, and a loud bang…I close my eyes and take a deep breath, steeling myself for referee duty.

I burst through the front door on high alert – brow furrowed and fire in my eyes. From the foyer I can see a box of cereal scattered from the kitchen to the living room.

The dog freaks out. The noise and activity of the children indicate to her that it’s wrestle time! She is torn between cereal clean-up duty and insanely jumping on the children. She suddenly spies a stack of papers on the counter, snatches them off and begins to shred them. Dog and I lock eyes…the chase begins.

One page flutters from the stack and a yellow-highlighted area catches my attention…it’s a bill. It was two days past due. I tried to pay it a week ago, but the online payment system was down and it was after-hours for the phone-pay system. The bill slipped into the dark space in my brain where important things go to be avoided.

My cell phone pings…It’s a traffic alert. It pings again. It’s my mom. She’s upset. A minor inconvenience has popped up in her life and she’s spiraling. The inconvenience triggers my memory and I suddenly realize I forgot to defrost the meat for tonight’s slow-cooker dinner. We’re going to be so busy this afternoon, meal prep needs to be on autopilot.

It’s 7:30 now. Coffee cup is missing. Boy calls out in excitement, “Mom! You gotta see this YouTube video, it’s hilarious!” I’m annoyed. I know it’s going to be yet another pimply teenager with a grating voice narrating a random video game he’s playing. I attempt to gather the energy to be enthusiastic for my son’s interests. Maybe my coffee cup is in the living room.

I sit down to watch the “awesome” video and Girl immediately climbs into my lap and wraps herself around my neck. Her precious arms squeeze until something in my shoulder pops – “OUCH!” Now she feels bad for hurting me and I’m agitated from the discomfort. I hop up with a shout and rush off to my serene office.

This is MY space. The place I go to get away, when running away isn’t an option…which it never is. As I settle into my comfy chair and turn on some New Age music, my eyes scan my desk, and I am reminded that month-end invoices for my business are due to go out. The dog trots in, goes directly to my coffee cup, and drinks the contents – spilling it across the side table and onto the floor.

Expletives tumble from my mouth. I’m aggravated, irritated, overwhelmed and tense.

I’m not even wearing a bra yet…and now I have to pee.

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