Dichoto-me: A Story of Opposites
October 8, 2010 2 Comments
It is 7:03 am. I’m already late, but today, I (almost) don’t care. I decide that making sure my son and I both have lunch in our lunch boxes is more important than running to get to work at 7 today. (But I still better make it in before 7:30, which is the moment that divides the blessed from the eternally damned and deemed slackers-not-worthy-of-a-paycheck).
Anyway, the story.
Hands working efficiently, heart skipping and hopping all over the place from the adrenaline (partially caused by the rebellion against the clock, but also caused by the anticipation of potentially spending a few minutes with a certain little Spider/Iron-Man), I gingerly place utensils on the counter and listen for any sounds of awakening.
“Who made that sound?! I heard a knife! I smell peanut butter!”
He awakens as he lives; straight to the point, fearless, inquisitive, attentive to detail.
I smile to myself and await his arrival, physically experiencing my heart swelling to the point where my chest can hardly contain it anymore. I don’t need to wait long, and his arrival does not disappoint. He stumbles into the kitchen, eyes wide open, shocks of hair sticking out of his head in unlikely directions, cheeks round and pink from sleeping.
I gather him in my arms, and he places his head on my shoulder for a split second before shooting back upright, every single muscle in his body contracted. He looks me straight in the eye and asks “Mama! We don’t have school today?!” Confused by my at-homeness at this hour of the morning, he thinks it MUST be the weekend.
“Yes habibi (my love), we do have school today. Takul batteekh? (Want some watermelon?)”
I take his hand in mine, and we head to the bathroom. We brush teeth, wash hands and face, and attempt to calm his hair down from whatever caused the sticking-out-every-which-way situation. I look at his reflection in the mirror and realize that this is what I live for. These moments where I am his world, and he is mine. From the corner of my eye I can see the man who keeps me sane sitting at his computer, and I take a moment to permanently etch this image into memory. This is how mornings should be.
I am happy, here.
It is 12:38 pm. I am sitting at work, wishing I had more hands to type/work with, aware of a growing hunger in my core that threatens to overshadow my productivity and focus (and overall sanity). I look around me and for the most part, everyone is stuck at their desk, trying to crank out one more task. Every now and then someone voices the collective feeling of drowning and being torn between wanting to keep working and needing to EAT.
For a moment it is as though I am observing the scenario from above, as though I were an outsider looking in, and not one of the crowd. I quickly realize, with utter clarity and without a doubt, that this is a glorified sweat shop. One with Career Development Plans, fancy job titles, and much better benefits. Nonetheless, sweat shop. I want to laugh, but that would just make my head hurt even more.
This isn’t how it should be.
I am unhappy, here.
I run from my car to the doors of the preschool, then slow down in order to appear calm and cool as I head towards the extended daycare classroom. I swing the door wide open and before I can take 3 steps into the classrom, I’m attacked by a 3-foot force that wraps its arms around my legs and almost brings me down.
I gather him in my arms, and he places his head on my shoulder for more than a split second this time.
“Let’s go home,” I whisper in his ear.
I am happy, here.