The day started with a box of donuts and a hole in my underwear. I wasn’t aware of the hole–not at first. It started at the seam where the gray lace met the tiger-striped cotton, hidden by the fancy doily design.
The donuts were more conspicuous.
I had awoken with a hankering for donuts. In fact, I had awoken many mornings, for several weeks, with this same yen. Trying to watch my diet to keep my body as healthy as possible, I did well ignoring the call toward the sugar-crust-covered bumpy cake ring. Chocolate. White icing. Wet sugar that dripped over the top and down the sides to just a point at the bottom where the tip of one drip almost meets its neighbor. It is an innocuous spot found just on the bottom of the donut. If I weren’t the type of person to regularly flip my food to eat upside down–peanut butter cups, hamburgers, sandwiches–I, too, may never have known that the exposed line of donut existed.
When I had said, “I could go for some donuts”, my husband knew this meant, “I hope you’ll go for donuts” when he responded with, “do you want me to go get donuts?”
Once he drove off is when I chose my underwear for the day. It was a pair I had found at Target two years ago. The bin had said “5 for $20” and the adorable designs were more feminine than any Hanes pack I had ever bought before. Never mind they wouldn’t withstand a weekly washing for long. Or that I would keep them long past their prime. As with all good things in life, I force the lifespan of my clothing.
The tiger pair was one of my favorites. It was soft and pliable. It fit over my hips well, clung to my body just enough to keep from sliding down but not tight enough to leave red lines on my torso at the end of the day. I became good at ignoring its imperfections.
Yet every trip to the bathroom was a slow death for the tiger pair.
The first trip, I pulled them up from my thighs. My thumb caught in the hidden crevice at the top edge. I knew something wasn’t right when the flesh of my thumb felt the skin of my leg. Between each trip to the toilet, I forgot my tiger pair was slowly dying. With each emptying of my bladder, my thumb found the same hole. It was getting harder to not find as it was now big enough to fit five thumbs in it (if I had that many).
Once my husband had returned from his morning errand, I had been proud of my restraint with the donuts. I cut the chocolate cake donut in half. The serrated edge of the knife glided easily through the doughy flesh. The cut lines were neat. My teeth sunk into it breaking the edges into something more rugged. The crunch of the sugar crust married the soft innards.
The second donut was more of a pastry. It is probably less bad for me, I had reasoned. It had a flaky crust. The heavy whipped cream that filled the center was scant enough to leave a telescope-like tunnel to the end. My analysis of this second treat seemed legit.
The day continued with me eating slices of donut like a calorie counter cheating on a diet but making herself believe it was okay. Small slices don’t count, right?
But as the day wore on, the underwear hole grew bigger. The donuts disappeared. My daughter woke up from her nap in a mood filled with screaming, fake tears, conveniently closed ears, sweet smiles, and a head filled with exploding toddler brains.
A trip to a coffee shop was semi-successful with a handmade chocolate milk for the little one–if only she could have turned her outside voice volume into an inside voice one. The students newly returned from spring break shot looks of displeasure as our daughter yelling “which color?” over her fistful of crayons disrupted their last-minute efforts to finish that forgotten assignment due tomorrow.
Bath time turned into a splashing wave pool. By the time I pulled her out of the tub, wet and naked and screaming, I was done. My husband waited quietly in our daughter’s room as I dropped off the half-towel-clad three-year-old.
He said, “I got this.”
I sat on the edge of the bed, thankful to have a partner who could take the child when I needed a break.
I clutched my pajamas. I tried to usurp the comfort I knew they would provide if I could only find the energy to now get myself in the shower and ready for bed.
Running on fumes, I found my way to the shower. I scrubbed my hair, washing two day’s worth of oil and grime down the drain. Conditioner quenched my dry ends as I twisted my hair up to the top of my head as I always do. I shaved. I rinsed. I had made it through.
I dried off my dripping arms. The towel swaddled my legs. It pulled the moisture from my long locks. I slid my pajama pants back up. The hole hiding beneath the elastic band of my pants stretched further. I sighed.
I went downstairs. The donut box sat on the kitchen counter. The room was dark. As I lifted the lid, I swore the donut remnants glowed under a spotlight. The sugar I had consumed throughout the day reminded me I should not eat any more. My sweetened blood coursed through my veins and caused my stomach to turn. I signed again.
Joining my husband on the couch, we both found work to do on our laptops. We ignored the child screaming “mommy!” from her bed in her frantic attempt at staying up just a few minutes more past her bedtime. The television drowned out the noise of the day.
My husband gave me a look that said “I got this.”
I knew he did. And so did I. Even when it didn’t feel like we could parent, we did. When we felt like we might lose our minds, we don’t. We had survived. Half a box of donuts and one ripped pair of underwear later.
Tomorrow will be another day.