Some days you hate yourself, you just really do. I mean, even if you’re the type of person who is generally quite emotionally healthy and stable. They can’t all be good days. Sometimes it could come from drinking a little too much coffee or more likely, not enough coffee. It throws your brain chemicals off their routine. Or it might be getting near to “that time of the month” (even if you don’t have all your contraptions down there anymore, your body still knows). Possibly when you were getting dressed this morning, your pants that normally are “just right tight”, meaning they are not uncomfortable but the proper amount of tight that still make your backside look pleasing, maybe those pants were hard to button. Meaning they have passed “just right tight” and tipped over into “too tight” making you have a pooch hanging over the top that you need to disguise with a well-placed sweater or a larger top. When that happens you might not realize it at that moment but it sets your whole day up for irritation.
And you can’t explain it to anyone. I mean even if you realize it yourself. You might stop in Walgreens to pick up some lip balm because despite the fact that you know you possess over eleven lip balms, and that there is sure to be one in the pocket of your jacket hanging over the back of the dining room table, and one in the side zipper of the purse you switched out of two days ago- the fact remains that you cannot find one right now. So you grab yourself a new Burt’s Bee’s or even splurge on a Nivea one and you go to the counter to pay and you find you are fourth in line. And the woman being rung up has some coupon issue. She’s arguing with the cashier, who honestly could care less if the lady saves sixty cents on two six packs of Diet Coke. I mean who buys Diet Coke at Walgreens anyway? Everyone knows the groceries in there are jacked up in price because it’s not a grocery store. It’s the convenience factor. And the cashier is calling for backup and the Diet Coke lady is waving her circular over her head and you just want to step on her foot or stab her with the pointy end of your car key. The longer you wait the more irritated you become until finally it’s your turn and you are just horrible to the cashier. When she asks if you want a bag you say no in the same way a teenager declines everything that is ever offered to them. You snatch your change and stalk off without a smile and then you get in your car and just burst into tears. You want to go back inside and tell the poor cashier that you really are very sorry and that you actually are a nice person but that your pants are just too tight today and its ruining everything.
And sometimes that just gets you going until you are riding along the self-hate train with no stops in sight. And when your brain decides it’s going to be “one of those days”, there is nothing you can do to stop it really. I mean, you get to work where you drive a school bus and as you climb up the steps you notice there is a rotting smell coming from your little plastic trash can. Normally you may not notice the smell or even if you did you would just empty the trash and be on your way. But this day is just out to get you and so the smell climbs inside of your nostrils and even when you are driving down the road with your side window open you swear you can still smell the smell and so that nugget of irritation inside of you grows a little bit so now it’s like the pit of a rotten piece of fruit lodged inside of you.
And every driver on the road is just a complete idiot. I mean four way stops are straightforward. We all stop. You go. You go. You go. I go. People will try to outgun each other and then have to do that halt/stop jerky thing where no one is sure who is actually going. And sitting in this bus seat really makes the button cut into my pudge. It gives me the feeling of wanting to get going nice and fast and then slam on my brakes so that the little rebels on the back who are kneeling in their seats when they know right well they should be sitting will just slam their little faces into the seats in front of them. And instead of being horrified by this thought as I might be on a day where my pants fit properly, I look in the big mirror to see how many children would fall victim to my idea. And then you think about what you’re actually thinking about doing and you realize that you are a terrible terrible person. Here you are entrusted by parents and school officials with the most precious cargo in the world and you are careening around curves like a wild woman hoping for bloodshed.
So you calm yourself down and try to think of some redeeming qualities about yourself. But you know – this day and all. Instead all you can think of is how you’ve been in such a sour mood and you wonder if you’re getting depressed and there’s an itchy spot on the back of your finger that is driving you crazy and is it stress causing that? At a red light you look down at your fingers and they are too thick and the itchy one is all red and you wonder why you can’t have nice feminine pretty hands like your mom and how could anyone love someone with such sausage fingers.
And speaking of sausage you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner so what will you cook when you get home? You don’t want to cook anything for anyone, why do people insist on needing you, really you just want to go home and stand at the kitchen counter and eat an entire bag of chips (the kind with the lime) and salsa for your own dinner while no one talks to you or asks you for anything and then sit and read your book completely undisturbed.
You finally drop off the last child and get back to the bus lot and you’re thinking you might just go home and hide under your bed covers with the lights turned off so your family will think you’re sick and leave you alone. You get up and walk down the bus aisle to make sure none of your relentless little cretins are sleeping or hiding in the back and you see a balled up piece of loose-leaf on the floor. You pick it up and carry it with you back to the front where you toss it in your little plastic trash can. But you can see child-like penciled handwriting and the corner of a drawing that could be a rainbow or a flower? You take it back out of the trash can and unrumple it. You smooth it out on the dash board. There are two drawn hearts in the corner that both have smiley faces in them. They are holding hands.
In the top part of the paper written in large letters it says
To: Mrs. Jessica
From: Lauren Jackson
Dear Mrs. Jessica,
I love you so much!! I miss you too! I loved 3rd grade with you. 4th grade is good. I miss the way you laugh. When I think of you I think about sunflowers blooming. They are butiful.
And that’s where the letter ends. And your heart is washed clean and full and hopeful and the sun looks much brighter now than it did this morning and nothing can be wrong in the world.