missed opportunities

In ALL, NEW YORK by Stephanie Klein

My house is dark and cold, without a phone signal. Candles, scented in flavors of how a pumpkin should smell. There is nothing to do without internet, without music, without movies or TV. We are just there, left with ourselves, cold, in sweats, food just hanging out in our dark fridge, trees hanging out in the streets. It’s a horrendous bore, no bars, no people. There are books and a flashlight I wear on my forehead. Kids want you to read to them, and you do, four or five books. But then what? I know how spoiled I sound, how I should find this time comforting, an opportunity to bond, but really I just feel disconnected and left out wondering what I’m missing. If I were in Texas, Shannan and Chris would be over with their kids, a sleepover, filled with drinking and board games, and it would be spectacular. I wanted to be stranded with friends, all of us shut in together, suffering as one. But when it’s just me, with Phil, and the kids–they’re their own unit–I find myself turning to him with, “This is such a missed opportunity.”

And then you get a glimpse of what you’re missing, you’re rescued by in-laws who open their doors to you, plug in your electronics, download while you can, glorious lights. Your phone works again, you’re receiving texts from two days ago. Then you see the news, dogs rescued, parents killed by a falling tree as their 11 and 14 year old children live, injured, because they remained in the car. And you think, “Quit your whining, you pussy girl.” “Man up.” Go back to your dark cold home with nothing to do and be thankful. Seriously thankful sometimes is going to be served with a helping of seriously bored. I’m both.