I’m in the rubber room. Gray rubber. I feel the knife in my right hand. A fine chef’s knife. Perfectly balanced handle, weighty in my hand, blade shiny with a sharp edge. I raise my arm high over my head and feel the anger in me rise as I slam the knife across the room. Tip to handle it rolls through the air. Whew, whew, whew, the knife whistles as it flies.
Then a voice says, “Are you up? Let’s walk. It’s cooler this morning.”
What? Hell no, I’m not up. I’m in a rubber room with a knife, so watch it buddy.
I get out of bed, obedient as a 50’s “Mad Men” wife, and as pissed off as a 70’s feminist.
I dress. Can’t breathe, suck two puffs from the inhaler I rarely use. Grab my water bottle and plug up my ears with ipod buds. He’s standing on the porch. Patiently waiting.
“We could leave the front door opened with the screen locked and go out the back door, so some cool air comes inside,” I say. Mad Men ignores me. He shuts the storm door and locks it behind us.
It’s been too hot. I feel cranky all the time. We have a window air conditioner in the bedroom. Fans blowing three feet away help in the other rooms. I can hide down the basement but the humidity has started to trail me. I can go to the store. Somerset Mall is almost too cold. We’ve done our morning walk there a few times.
I haven't been doing anything meaningful. I was looking forward to summer when I could have the window open so the oil painting fumes wouldn’t kill me. But it's too hot. I thought I’d have the garden in shape. But it's too hot. Our yard is frying.
On our walk there are lots of beige and brown lawns. Here and there is an oasis of lush green that makes you want to roll in the grass and make summer angels. I think about the water bills and wasting water. We have watered too, yet our lawn is still heading toward the color of the ground in a current war zone. I could get cranky about that too.
The heat makes my gut scream and cry and stomp its little feet inside me. Sue, my daughter, says the heat does this to her too. We have wonky bellies.
Last night was almost cool enough to play Scrabble on the screened back porch. I was still too hot, irritable. The fireflies weren’t entertaining. I had bad letters. The board was bad. Where can you fit in a good word? Finally, I attached my U R D to a T.
Mad Men reached for the Oxford dictionary, which we picked because it has all the common dirty words, you know, the really bad ones that George Carlin liked.
“What! You’re looking up TURD?”
“I just want to make sure it’s legal.”
“Legal!” With that I picked my URD off the board and threw it at him. Hit him smack in the heart.
“I pass!” I screamed. “It’s your turn. Take your damn turn.”
After that I think he threw the game. I won. But does it count if you win by losing it.