Amy was on the desperate side of midnight. Her silky kimono robe smelled of breast milk vomit. Her hair looked like a bird's nest. She felt like screaming or doing something violent, but instead she sat up and caressed Bartlette's head as she slept. There had been enough screaming for one night.
Bartlette had a crib, of course. She had been fed, of course. And burped. None of that mattered.
Wave after wave of her daughter's crying had battered Amy into capitulation. Bartlette now shared Amy's bed. It was Amy's weak spot. A child's discontent took her heart hostage. And even if she held out a long time, in the end, she gave in and paid the ransom. Stop crying. Please. JUST ... STOP ... CRYING. However.
Amy wobbled as she sat on the king-size water bed that Bart had insisted on getting soon after they were married. He liked the idea that they could have sex at sea, as he called it. It turned him on. "Undulate me, baby," he would say in a whisper worthy of Barry White.
Basically, in spite of a excellent body, he was cringe-material as a lover. Yet, right now she missed him, which was an indication of her current level of emotional deprivation.
Right now, water or not, the bed just seemed too big. Amy felt like it was her widow's penance - a vast expanse of emptiness. When Bartlette was in her crib, Amy could roll over three times and not fall off the edge. Or touch another human being.
She turned on the reading lamp. She looked at her youngest. As peaceful now as she was ballistic earlier. Little curls. Incredible soft skin. No lines of tension or worry or defeat on her face. Bartlette was an angel. Even now, in the middle of Amy's Depressive Episode #476, she could see that. Bartlette was beautiful. And precious. And gorgeous. And worthy of all the love and all the work and all the patience anyone could muster.
Amy recognized these thoughts were not uncommon. In fact, she knew a lot of parents felt that way about their children. So why ...
She stopped on the edge of the precipice. Her eyes filled. She shook her head. She willed herself against the tears. But her mind's momentum could not be stopped.
... why does everything go so wrong when we grow up?
When she felt blue, she was prone to ask questions she couldn't answer. Questions which were really knives that pierced her skin and entered her blood vessels and coursed all around her body stabbing her with sadness and perplexity.
If that was even a word.
Amy cried for a while.
When the tears slowed and finally stopped, and her eyes felt like they'd been rubbed with No. 5 sandpaper, she reached for the book on her bedside table.
Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships.
But Amy had to smile a little. She thought of a sequel. Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive When Your Husband's Doing Whores, Who Are Sometimes Men.
Amy had a rule. If you could laugh at yourself, you could not be called pathetic.
She decided to go with it. She shut her eyes and opened the book at a random place - near the back because she reckoned the author usually saved his or her best insights for the conclusion.
She opened her eyes. There it was. The Index. From "facial -displays during sex" to "intimacy - other-validated." Oh dear. She repeated the procedure. This time, better luck. She read:
Loss is inherent in getting what you want - unless you want everything, which guarantees you'll be unhappy.
Amy pulled a tissue from a box on the floor and blew her nose. Quietly. Then she grabbed another tissue and blew again.
She shook her head. She didn't want everything. And if loss was part of getting what she wanted, she was well on her way.
Amy shook her head again.
Then she caught herself. She forced herself to nod. Like she had before. When she had the insight about being free, about choosing. But now it just felt weird, stilted. So Amy compromised. She shrugged. And smiled. Then she leaned down and ever-so-gently picked up her daughter. She carried Bartlette to the room she shared with Carmen and lay her youngest down to sleep in her crib.
(more to come)
For those who are new here, A is for Amy & Adonis is a comic story of romantic redemption. The aim is to provide a fun and fast read with characters you can connect to emotionally.
There are 26 short chapters. But it's easy to catch up. The chapters just take a few minutes to read. And here they are:
READ FIRST SEVEN POSTS (just click on the one you want)--
Nota Bene -- All the chapters will be archived on Huffpost so people will be able to catch up with the story no matter how late they come to the novella.
I have decided to post two chapters a week. So, if you like what you read here, stay tuned with Huffpost email alerts or follow me on Twitter. --Steven