Attempting another Thursday's Trauma with these prompts provided by Delores at Under the Porch Light-better late than never! My mood has prevented me from partaking of late but tonight, I shall.
The prompts are:
particles, clinging, splendid, fresh, flute, artistic
bubbles, beginning, infant, decide, global, justify
merchants, chipper, boxed, hibernate, dust, dishes
Ended up with another semi-autobiographical type of writing exercise which felt really good!
Madeline stared into the bubbles of her husband's golden hued beer as she held the frosty glass in her left hand, her ginger ale chilling her right. Trevor was busy wielding the family camera, angling his torso up, down, left, and right across the dining table as their young son demolished a thoroughly overly decorated, overly sweetened cake.
Eli had just turned one year old and they were gathered at a local family owned restaurant, crowded in to the banquet room with friends and family to celebrate the occasion. Madeline couldn't help but think of the moments when they shared the news of their pregnancy with each of their parents and then with friends and relatives. The beginning of this journey seemed much more joyous than this room of somewhat entertained adults and bored children of various ages. Why was the idea of something so much better than the reality?
Eli was transitioning from infant to toddler far more smoothly than Madeline had transformed from maiden to mother, a transition she was still struggling with. After months of debilitating depression and barely being able to care for Eli while Trevor was at work things took a turn for the worse. She began fantasizing nearly all day about strangling, smothering, drowning, abandoning her son. As she nursed him her mind raced, her eyes scanning the room for objects she could put him into and shut him away. Even in the peaceful moments while he slept when a mother should be admiring the beauty of her child in peace, her sick fantasies haunted her.
Madeline had confessed to Trevor how bad things had truly become when he asked about why she wasn't sleeping. Everything tumbled out like ugly secrets so often do. The thoughts about hurting her baby, the anxious nights lying awake, the not eating, not showering, lying in the middle of the room as Eli pulled at her hair and scratched at her face and just not caring, wanting the pain if only to distract from the thoughts that whispered in her mind that death was her only escape. It had been six months since Eli's birth, a rare occasion in her life when everything seemed to have a purpose, six months and she had sunk to the lowest point of her life.
Trevor had decided she needed a specialist, someone that treated postpartum women not just psychiatric cases on a global level. Madeline's altered mind had wondered if her case justified such attention, was she truly sick enough? All she wanted to do was lie in bed all day but she went to the doctor and then to the twice-a-week counseling appointments and then eventually to the once-a-week marriage counseling appointments. She took the first medication, adding the second medication when the first didn't work, switching to a third and a fourth, adding a fifth, changing to a sixth, seventh, and eighth until finally it seemed like something in her brain shifted. Another six months had disappeared into the darkness.
Now she stood in a room full of people with pasted on smiles telling her "they grow so fast" and "oh, he's walking, now you're in for the hard part" or "you'll cherish these memories" but all she could think about was the suffering and the pain and how all these people that were supposed to be her loving support system had no idea what she was going through or what she had gone through and how many times she thought she wouldn't see this day. It made her want to scream.
"Mads, hun, you okay? You got a few tears there." Her neighbor Barb lightly touched Madeline's shoulder, clutching a Shirley Temple and small, wet napkin in her other hand.
Madeline smiled, "Oh, you know, they grow up so fast." She shrugged, unable to wipe away the trickle of warm tears.
"Mmmm." Barb nodded knowingly, giving her a sidelong glance and biting her magenta tinted lip. Barb was in her mid sixties, not afraid of sequins or telling off rowdy neighborhood teens. "Or maybe it's something more?"
Madeline started, sucked in a breath and felt panic flutter awake in her chest. As much as wanted a confidante she was terrified to admit her truth and Barb's knowing look seemed to suggest the neighbor was onto her.
"I'm a mother myself, I've been in the shit if you will, but even if I hadn't-living next to you this past year I would've known something wasn't quite right. No one's ever gonna look like the commercials, but you, my dear, looked soulless for quite a few months."
Barb raised her eyebrows and looked pointedly over her red bifocal frames. Madeline's tears were flowing freely now as her lip quivered and she stared at Barb's chunky glass necklace.
"But I'm glad to see that you're brightening again and that is something worth drinking to more than any one day in a child's life." Barb finished with a wry grin.
Madeline cracked a wobbly smile and choked out a wet chuckle, "I don't know if brightening is the right word..."
"Hun, you are reentering the world of the living, coming back into the light." Barb raised her arms dramatically, "and you deserve some credit for making the journey. Here's to you."
The matriarch clinked her bubbling glass against Madeline's ginger ale and the two women sipped in unison.
"Thank you, Barb."
"You're welcome darling. You keep on truckin."
Madeline's gaze returned to her son smothered in white and blue frosting, his wavy auburn hair tipped with whipped sugar. He was giggling and happily immersed in his messy work, throwing fleeting smiles to those nearest him.
He looked up and found her face in the crowd, squealed, pointed a blue finger in her direction and then shoved a fistful cake into his toothy grin and Madeline smiled back, squeezing away tears and swallowing against a lump in her throat. Maybe it wasn't a good day but that was one wonderful moment and for now, that was enough.