Marjorie muffled the metronome, swaddling it in heavy cotton cloth, much as she routinely did with the flannel nappies to insulate the babies. Cotton babies they were—fresh and fragrant like daisies and daffodils—soft and warm, comfortable. But unlike cotton, they were crusty around the edges, salty like Marmite kisses on their tear-soaked faces—luscious faucets streaming, leaky taps—their little dimples like tiny pools you could peer into with a magnifying glass. So needy! So unsatisfied—like a Monday morning mug waiting for its spoonful of instant coffee. Spiky and irritated—not at all like cotton!—but taffeta—scratchy; like nettles—prickly.
Turning the volume down
to the lowest audible setting on the keyboard, Marjorie seated herself
down on the cushioned seat. She would not wake the triplets if she took
such preventative measures…
Upon the kitchen countertop, her
mobile rang and made the cutlery jump. A shrill alarm; a space invader.
With stiffened limbs, fingers still poised above the keys, Marjorie
waited breathlessly for the inevitable shrieks of awakening.
stiffened limbs, fingers still poised above the keys, Marjorie waited
breathlessly for the inevitable shrieks of awakening. Trying to juggle
her writing career with being a mother was proving to be fraught with
more difficulty than she had anticipated. She desired to progress her
career, but little Leroy’s needs were like ruts in the road to her
Since his birth in June, she had failed to make any
substantial progress with her novel. This motherhood was a new chapter
in life, all right—a single, long, unimaginative chapter with run-on
sentences and lengthy pauses.
Here—September. She had been
scheduled to share a sneak preview of her work in progress, but with no
progress having been made, she would instead be sitting in audience to
support a young graduate’s writing.
Sure enough, like clockwork
or the inevitability of playing Easter Bunny for many years to come,
Leroy cried out—waking after a mere 10-minute nap. With a sigh of
resignation, she ascended the stairs to the nursery. Past the leaky sink
tap, the ticking Beatrix Potter clock, she manoeuvred through familiar
dark space to his cot and plucked him up into her arms as if to comfort
him. Her voice, cool, as if carried from another place, she began a
lullaby; stiff and formal, in taffeta black, her slippered, stockinged
foot beating in time to the faucet and the taunting metronome.
The copyright of these pieces belongs to Monica Jenkins