I. My feet hurt
I am tired
I don’t want to be here
Bags under my eyes
My hands dry and cracked
My back aches
Don’t want to be here
Yet here I am
Practiced smile blooms on my lips
Makeup like a doll
Eyes wide, falsely shine
Happiness radiates off me
Shirt buttoned, apron tied
In full character
II. I get home and I want to drop. My eyes are dull and my makeup has faded and worn off. The bags are visible again. Angry curses stream from the lips that bore a smile only an hour ago. All the lights are off, everyone is fast asleep. I am the only thing that stirs the silence of their sleeping breaths. I work my way down the hall to my room. Shirt already un-tucked and unbuttoned, belt off ready to toss on the floor, my hair down. I make quick work of my jeans, socks, and undershirt. Finally free of the stifling uniform I run my hands over my face and through my hair.
I grab my PJ’s and head off to shower. Letting the warm water run over my bare shoulders where all the stress and frustration from the night has landed. I twist my back side to side and hear the pops and sigh. Now that some of that tension is gone I slowly spin to let the warm comfort of the shower wash over my face.
Turning the knobs off I step out of the steam into a once fluffy towel. Slip into my cotton night shirt and pink plaid bottoms and head to my sanctuary. My bed in sight I sigh with relief, rest within my grasp.
A soft moan distracts me and I turn to see my sleeping children. A bittersweet twinge hits my heart. I love them so much and I am so happy to see them. Yet as I go and kiss them goodnight I can’t help but realize they won’t remember this. They will wake up with the memory of going to bed while I was gone. I wasn’t there for bath time or to hear how daycare went. I wasn’t there to make sure they ate all their super, and I wasn’t there to tuck them in. They will wake knowing I wasn’t there before.
As I lay down and turn out the light the last thing I see is a neatly pressed white button up shirt. Ready for tomorrow when again, I’ll be in full character.
Author’s Comment: Katie Snyder lives in Maiden, NC and previous work has appeared in 234 online journal. She is a fairly new author and is still trying to find her niche, but hopes you enjoy the read.