It's two thirty Saturday morning. I have children arriving in less than four hours. I'll need to take a shower before then–but if I do it now, I'll have to blow-dry my hair and that just seems a little loud for two-ish in the morning.

Although . . . wielding the power drill didn't bother me. I figured anyone can sleep through a little drilling. Even dropping a tool or two. But blow dryer? I don't know. I always imagine I hear someone calling or crying or things breaking. So I turn it off and I get short of breath listening for phantom sounds over the heartbeat in my head.  

You know how that goes.

As you probably know how dropping into bed at night exhausted goes, almost drifting off before you've even got the pillow plumped right, and then something occurs to yank you fully awake.  Likely something you have no control over. Probably not even real. But there you are, laying there in the dark, staring at the walls, thinking, if I don't go to sleep, tomorrow I'm really, really going to pay. So I'm not going to go down this path. I'm going to lay here and go to sleep, and deal with this tomorrow or the next day or never because it's not even real.

There is nothing to be gained by staying awake.

And so much to lose.

But you keep yourself conscious. It's like a secret weapon in an arsenal of helplessness. I can't fix this problem, and maybe I have no control over anything else, but I can stay awake. So there.

What do I hope to accomplish?  The laundry? Really?

The minute I feel that first yank–the minute–I am still calm. I say, this is so not my problem. I'm going to continue slipping into dreamland. I have to get up tomorrow. I have to smile and function and interact for Pete's sake. I am going to sleep. I'm beyond this staying up all night thing–I'm going to sleep.

I finally get up. I put a load of laundry in. I stand there in the doorway and I debate going back to bed. I know I'll lay there, bouncing my toes and scratching places that don't even itch because all this doing is just that. It's not about getting the whites through or taking the tree down. It's about being awake.


Is it my way of saying how very much something bothers me?

I don't swear, or break things. I don't yell or argue or slam dishes or doors.

I keep my eyes open. 

Although . . . I seriously thought about smashing something. Just one thing.

I could probably find the sledgehammer with a flashlight, but I don't know where any batteries are. Or the shed key. And if I did, then what? Where do you lay an object you want to pulverize when you don't want to pulverize anything else in the vicinity? I am, after all, a responsible adult.

I just want to break one thing. Haven't you? Wanted to lay it out on a big rock somewhere and pound it to powder, just to see if it's possible, maybe.  Am I ill? I can think of a few things that might reduce to a fine powder if I worked at it long enough.  

But then I start thinking of the consequences. What if someone, years down the road, steps on a piece of glass I missed? What if one of my kids sees me in full swing and it terrifies them? So I do laundry. Settle for snipping off my wedding band with wire cutters. I have gained ten pounds in two months. Twenty since it fit.  There is a deep groove left around my ring finger, and the severed ring looks like a vending machine dropping, a child's prize.  

My hand felt so free, maybe I needed to flex it. Picked up the power drill that lay next to wire cutters and started marking holes. Thirty holes through solid oak. Went through two batteries. Inserted knobs and tightened screws. The laundry was an afterthought.

You don't need a sledgehammer for your average home improvement project. It's stored out back somewhere. But the screw drivers and drills, pliers and bits. I'm going to miss having these things laid out at my fingertips, when and if we ever actually finish this place. One doesn't usually keep these things about in a kitchen.  




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One response to “Sledgehammer

  • Mandy

    I can totally relate to the not sleeping thing. It happens to me far to often. I envy how my husband can just turn things off and go to sleep in a matter of seconds. Not me, the brain keeps churning. Keeps thinking. Keeps wondering what if. And I keep telling myself it doesn't matter, not right now, nothing I can do about it at 1…2…3…4 in the morning. JUST GO TO SLEEP! But I don't.

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