It’s 9:30pm. The baby’s not in bed, the apartment’s a mess, and I’m naked from the waist down. And I really need a break from this solo-mothering thing.
The Guppins was going to be at Sir Dick’s tonight (that’s her dad); I was going
to drive her over between parking ticket court and taking out the garbage for my
Earlier, on the streetcar, I get a text from my tenant in two:
My rads are stone cold
I text my business partner, Chazz.
Two is complaining she’s cold
He texts back:
Send out a group email to everybody we’ll bleed the rads Wednesday
I am digging through my purse looking for pain meds because, being geriatric
(read: over 35 with a baby), I have exacerbated my arthritis carrying my kid to
traffic court (the Guppins hates her stroller all-of-a-sudden), and I can feel my
back just begin to pull
and now she’s reaching for the pill bottle
like she’s reaching for the toothpaste
like she’s reaching for the toilet cleaner
like she’s reaching for everything that used to be just out of her reach…
but it’s okay, she’s going to her dad’s tonight, and I am going to get a break, even
if it means I drive her there illegally.
Because my licence is suspended.
Tell them not to bleed their own rads there is a system it’s not the new
pump everything is working FINE in One
and Two is now emailing why me, why not her, why my heat, what have I ever
done, why why WHY
and Six is now I’m so sorry I just want to be transparent here but I bled my
rads last week I’m so SORRY
and Five is all
can you fix my toilet? Again?
We arrive at traffic court. We abandon traffic court. Cops with guns and stuffed
people and one clerk working for a mob of five thousand. Who would forget to
renew their sticker, forget to pay the ticket when pulled over while on the way
to work for the first time in a year, forget to pay attention to the warnings in the
Tomorrow. I can go back tomorrow morning because Sir Dick is taking her
tonight. I can meet them right before the results of his prostate biopsy
(put it in a box)
at Princess Margaret. It’s near traffic court.
But Sir Dick never calls. The next day he says to me,
“Why didn’t you just bring her over? I was expecting you.”
He’s not big on telecommunications. His cell phone — which Bell forced him into
for the bundling discount — is covered in dust, uncharged, sitting under scattered
bags of drying dope and photographs and other guy-actor things.
So why didn’t I?
Oh, how I could have binged on popcorn and caught up on streamed episodes of
Australia’s Next Top Model (that’s right, Australia) and slept for more than three
hours without interruption.
But instead of a night off,
I get drunk in the boiler room while the baby sleeps upstairs.
Red wine and ten thousand cigarettes. The girl in One (an actress) and her
theatre-director friend are heading out the door. I run into them while taking out
the garbage (with my pants on).
(One) It’s so nice to seeeeeeee you! I hated (insert regional summer theatre
where I used to work), it was so looonely.
(Me) Yes, it’s really no fun if you’re not fucking anybody.
(One) I'm so glad to be back— We’re just going to the Midfield, I wish you
(Me) Yes, the baby.
(The Director) I didn’t know you had a baby?
(Me) She’s almost one and a half.
(The Director) But you were so good in that workshop. I loved that dancing
stripper Crow Lady you pulled out.
(One) It's so good to seeeee you, it’s been so loooong.
We decide to drink in the boiler room, which is almost under the baby’s crib, so if
she cries I will hear her. We set up a mock table and One sits on a suitcase.
(One) My solo show’s going to New Yoooork, isn’t that great? You
should have a solo show I can’t believe you don’t have a soooloooooo
I get the wine, and the director guy has the cigarettes, and Girl in One texts
Chazz, who she reveres (Chazz is ridiculously handsome and all-knowing,
especially about acting) and Chazz brings some bourbon, and we get smashed
and talk about art and German theatre, and name the new boiler smoke-
easy “Under the Asbestos” and have a laugh, and discuss the new boiler pump
for the rads, and the baby never cries and the next day when I am hung-over but
happy, I realize that I am Lonely.
Where do you go? Where do you go to find who you were before?
Two months from now Chazz and I will remove all the asbestos from the hot
Still…it will never be the same. I will never be the same.
I’ll tell you where I fucking go. Under the asbestos. And this…is my solo show.