The world is too quiet when I’m the one locking up. Some sense of maternal duty I never asked for moves my hands to check thermostats, unplug coffee machines, and tuck an entire building of offices in for the night. The parking lot is isolated except for my car huddled like an island in the fog, but even in this vacuum of sound and light is the ever-present rush—to pick up the girls from the babysitter’s and carry them sleeping to their own pillows, to redistribute the mounting mess of our house, to hang the laundry already gone stiff, to herd myself into bed far too late and sleep poised on the edge of the next overfull day.
Recharge time is a luxury out of my price range these days, and so I stop counting coffees. Health is not a priority. Relationships are not priorities. Art isn’t, peace isn’t. There is no room for these things in 10-hour work days, no space for them in the file folders crammed with lesson plans. The only portrait of the future visible from here is a whiteboard, but I don’t have time to quantify the stark sense of loss that brings.
This is no way to live, but it feels like the only way for now… so I put the office building to bed, do the same with my family, and conjure back that fog-enveloped quiet to bring sleep if not rest.