I’m standing in wings of the stage watching that man of mine and his band play the songs that make the whole stadium sway. His feet are stomping in that crazy rhythm of his own, twist, turn, step, step, turn, twist… “‘Cause we’re trippin’ billies…”
My love looks over to me, warm brown eyes gleaming, and smiles our secret smile. He nods his head, and strums his red acoustic guitar. His lips are nearly touching the mike, his words go out to the world, but his voice is all mine…
“Mooooooommmmyyyyy!” a voice beckons from the living room. I turn off the water, grab the dish towel and halfway dry my hands before pausing my iPod. I walk out of the kitchen in the direction of that voice. “Moooooom!” it yells again.
“What?” I snap, instantly regretting my tone. I throw the dishcloth over my shoulder and go to them. My girls. Dave Matthew’s real wife has twins too. I wonder if they bellow for her every second of the day like mine do…
Jocy shakes her sippy cup at me, not taking her big green eyes off Doc McStuffins.
“More milk!” She’s stuffing her mouth with a strawberry frosted Pop-tart with the other hand, and I smile at the trail of crumbs covering her sweet toddler face from plump cheeks to dimpled chin.
“More milk, please…” I prompt, lovingly. My little monkey.
Her twin sister shakes her cup at me too, “More milk, please, Mommy!”
I take Jocelyn’s cup, then Vivian’s. “Sure thing Vivy. I love you.” I stoop over and give my other little monkey a kiss on her honey colored curls.
“Love you too, Mommy!” Vivy replies, eyes still glued to the adventures of Lamby, Stuffy, and the Doc.
“Love you, Jocy.” I pause before my last born babe and wait for her reply. Nothing.
She sighs and leans over so she can see the TV around me. “More milk.”
I shake my head and head back to the kitchen to get their Royal Highnesses more milk.
I open the fridge and that’s when I hear the voice behind me.
I turn and see the palace’s longtime, faithful, steward. He is wearing a jet black velour robe over his pin-striped cotton pajamas.
“Oh Jeffrey, you’ve startled me!” I pull the tie of my red silk kimono tighter and remember my posture. This royalty thing is new to me. All I wanted was a glass of milk. Now there may be some sort of incident. I smile nervously as I imagine the headlines, “Duchess of Disaster caught in midnight tryst in Buckingham kitchen!”
“No worries, M’am.” He takes the sippy cups from my hand and gestures to the stool pulled up to the kitchen island. “Could I make you a cup of tea?”
“That’d be just lovely, Jeffrey, thank you.” I sit down and sigh. It’s nice to be taken care of.
In mere seconds, Jeffrey’s handing me a warm cup of Earl Grey. I smile and close my eyes, inhaling the steamy scent as I cradle the teacup in both hands. “Sit with me, Jeffrey…” I pat the counter before the stool across from me, “It’s been forever since I’ve had a real conversation.”
Jeffrey smiles shyly and starts to sit down as the phone rings.
“Sit, I’ll get it,” I smile back and walk over to the kitchen phone. “Hello?”
“Mrs Wittie?” A concerned older woman asks.
“This is she.”
“Hello, this is Ms Collins, the nurse at Farmington Elementary…”
I get a tight feeling in my belly. Jacob HAD told me he felt woozy before I chased him out the door to the bus stop this morning. Christ, did I really send an actual sick kid to school?
“Hi. Is Jacob okay?” I start looking for my keys and my purse.
“He has quite a high fever, M’am. 102. Sore throat too. Might be strep. It’s been going around the fifth grade like wild-fire.”
“Great.” I mutter under my breath. “I’ll be right there. Thanks for the call, Ms Collins.”
Somehow the twins and I are out of the house, dressed, if you can believe it, in under 20 minutes. Well, the girls are decently dressed. I just put on a pair of yoga pants over my nightshirt and stepped into the first pair of flip-flops I could find. I’m lucky I had the time to run a wet toothbrush through my coffee mouth. My unwashed, uncombed hair is tucked unto one of Jacob’s Yankees caps. In under 20 minutes more, the 4 of us are back in the minivan, navigating our way out of the school parking lot, on the way to the pediatrician, whom I called on the drive to school.
“Mooom…” Jake croaks, “The twins are pinching each other!”
“Girls!” I say between gritted teeth, rolling up the windows so that the afternoon kindergarten moms who are dropping off their little ones won’t hear.
“Sissy started it!” Jocy whines.
“Nu-uh… Vivy said I’m a doo doo face!”
I sigh and shake my head. Doo doo face? I mean, really.
Now that we’re out of earshot of the other moms, I roll the windows back down, turn on 90s on 9, and crank up the volume.
“She’s going the distance… she’s going for speed… she’s all alone, all alone in her time of need…” I remember this song. Cake! Nice.
I rest my left arm on the car door and lean over to feel the breeze in my face.
I hear the rumble of the Harley’s engine before I see it. He pulls up beside me at the next light.
His chin length blond waves peek out of his black half-helmet. He flashes me a sexy smile, lips full and kissable, his one gold tooth glinting in the early afternoon sun.
I smile back.
He raises his eyebrows and mouths,”Nice ride.”
“Thanks. You too.” I mouth back.
The light turns green and we both drive off to the next intersection just as that light turns red. I check my lipstick in my red Corvette’s rear view mirror and take off my head band, shaking my luscious locks so they frame my porcelain face.
We meet at the next light, and he’s pulled his sunglasses off to reveal crystal blue eyes. He winks at me and grins broadly.
“Going my way?” He shouts over the roar of the engine.
“Absolutely…” I shout back, laughing and tossing my hair, seductively. The light turns green and I follow him wherever he might lead.
“Mooom!” Jacob’s croak is scratchier this time, “You missed the turn!”
“Wha?” I watch the exit pass by and check the minivan’s dashboard clock to calculate just how late we’re going to be now, “Sorry, baby. I was distracted. Try to save your voice, mmkay?”
3 hours later, after the doctor’s appointment and trips to the pharmacy and Mc D’s drive through, we are finally home.
I get my poor little man set up in his bedroom with his new Avengers DVD and a lap desk full of his 20 piece nuggets and fries. Boys his age have quite the appetite. He’s growing like a weed. Too fast.
“Open up, Jakey.” I nudge and I squirt the pink, bubble gum flavored anti-biotic into his mouth. I leave two chewable children’s ibuprofen next to his cup of Sprite.
“Take these after you eat, baby.” I lean over to kiss his burning forehead and I run my hand through his soft brown curls. My boy. He smiles tiredly up at me, but I know he’s waiting for me to leave so he can press play. He really loves Iron Man and The Hulk. I shuffle sadly out of the room, leaving his door open just a crack in the off-chance he needs me.
I’m taking one last peek at my first-born then feel the hot breath on my neck.
He grabs a handful of my hair and spins me around to face him. My old foe. The cretin. The evil Pirate Doom. He’s come to take my son to his ship. Not this time, buddy. Find your cheap labor somewhere else. He’s shoved me against the wall, his blade at my throat, dark determination in his coal-black eyes.
“You bastard!” I spit in his pock-marked face. I can smell the rank of stale, dried rum from his crusty gray beard.
“Aye…lassie, that’s it… Me likes a wench who struggles a bit…”
“He’s MY child! You’ll never take him.” My attempts to break away prove futile. With every movement, I feel the knife grating onto the tender flesh of my neck.
“His pa done lost all the chances the wee boy had left… Has a hankerin’ for the card games, he does.” He winks at me and presses his body closer, grotesquely grinding against me, his legs on either side of mine as he pins me harder against the wall.
“Screw…” I slowly shift my weight to my left foot and center myself for what comes next, “You…” And my right knee slams into Doom’s groin, sending him groaning back, hunched over his smashed precious gems.
I take advantage of his crouched stance to kick him square in the jaw. He flies back towards the starboard rail and I turn tail and run to find my sword.
I’m pulling it out of its red leather scabbard when Doom catches up with me. I have one chance to swing at him, spinning on my boot heels, my long wool coat swirling out in slow motion. My blade hits its mark and Doom crumbles to the deck, defeated for the last time.
“Martha?” I hear my neighbors voice coming from the foyer downstairs. “Where are ya, hon?”
“Penny?” I call down, smoothing my rumpled clothes and shaking my head to clear my mind. “I’ll be right down.”
Before I even make it all the way down, I can hear the tell-tale whimpering of Molly, our 8 month old golden retriever.
“Oh shoot, again?” I say, making a silly, ‘my bad’ face at Penny as I take Molly’s leash from her.
“This is the third time this month, Marth… Ya know I wouldn’t complain, but…” I don’t hear the rest of what Penny is obviously complaining about. I pick up something about mums and her porch and yaddayaddayadda. I’ve had enough crap today.
“We’ll repair the fence this weekend, I promise.” I let Molly off her leash and her nails skid on the hardwood as she skedattles away. Leading Penny out the door, I make more promises and excuses about ordering the right color wood and how my husband, Finn, will be finishing that bottom segment first thing Saturday and thanks again for wrangling our puppy and it won’t happen again and I will definitely buy her a new pot of mums…
I close the door behind Penny and lean against it, blowing an errant strand of hair from my face. I hear a crash and more skittering puppy paws.
“Molly! C’mere girl! What have you gotten into now?”
Finally, it’s 11:30. Jocelyn and Vivian are all tucked in, stories have been read, two renditions of Doggy in the Window have been sung, and they are sound asleep. Jacob’s fever has gone down and he fell asleep playing Skylanders. Finn fell asleep on the couch while we were watching The Artist on Netflix. I’d just finished my third glass of Cabernet, and now it was bedtime.
As I take my bedtime pee, I sit there thinking about the next Oscar-winning movie in our queue. I wipe and pull up my pajama bottoms and then wash my hands, lost in thoughts of the Kodak Theater on Hollywood’s biggest night.
I grab my toothbrush, and begin my acceptance speech.
“Wow, um, gosh!” I stammer, my heart beating out of my chest. Holy crapballs is that George Clooney? Anyway, “Yeah, wow.” I take a deep breath and compose myself, keeping a vice-like grip on the golden statuette with one hand and steadying the other over the smooth red silk chiffon covering the butterflies in my stomach.
“Well, I’d like to, of course, thank The Academy. I’m just awestruck at even being nominated with such great talents! Anne, Kate, Meryl, Marissa, you have been my heroes and inspirations, thank you for your brilliant bodies of work.” I lick my drying lips, wish for a sip of champagne, and tuck a curl behind my diamond-adorned ear before I go on.
“I’d like to thank Stephen, of course, for writing and directing such a glorious role of a lifetime. And the producers for their support of this project we loved so much! The rest of my cast! Oh, wow! Joaquin, my partner, my guiding light in this film. Thank you. You are amazing!”
Joaquin smiles that awkward half smile I find so very endearing. How I loved our work together! I begin to tear up.
“And finally, I want to thank my parents for their unconditional support. My husband Finnian for his undying love and patience and for picking up the slack at home while I work. And my kids, Jocy, Vivy, and Jake… Thanks for sharing Mommy with the movies. I got a prize, guys! Now go to bed…”
The music is just starting to play me off when the bathroom door opens and Finn appears, sleepily rubbing his eyes.
“Babe?” He mumbles and shuffles over to me by the sink. He puts his arms around me, looks at our reflections in the mirror. He kisses my bare shoulder.
“Hey, babe. I thought you were asleep?” I turn to face him, and nuzzle my face into his stubbly jawline. I take a big deep breath of the smell of him.
“Not anymore.” He pulls away and looks at me, raising an eyebrow, questioningly.
“Funkytown?” I guess, referencing one of our favorite TV shows, and meaning, well…
“Awww, yeah.” Finn smiles and pulls me with him to bed.