Added: Meenakshi Crandell - Date: 20.07.2022 23:34 - Views: 37462 - Clicks: 8723
He is forty-nine years old and has never had any incontinence issues, or s of incipient senility. His father, however, died five months earlier, not long after suffering a super-nova stroke that obliterated a large section of his brain. Dan Sr. His nourishment was dumped directly into his stomach through a plastic umbilical cord attached to an upside-down bottle at the head of his bed.
Do you want another blanket? Shall I close the curtains for you? How about some TV? In bed, Anne watches Dan pull on his trousers over an adult diaper, so unlike the bulky ones she used twenty-plus years ago when her son and daughter were infants. He shrugs. Should she talk to somebody about Dan? And telling her friends is out of the question. The compassionate thing to do is humor him until it passes. Later, in the kitchen, Anne gazes out of the large bay window above the sink as she sips her coffee. For almost two decades, this month had a specific feel to it that has been programmed into her body.
She studies the climbing rose Dan planted six years ago on their twenty-fifth anniversary. Several large, pink clusters of flowers drape over the arbor. Japanese beetle season is finally over, giving the rose a chance to make its final blooming effort before it goes dormant for the winter. What was it Dan said when he planted it? He hoped it would grow as strong as their love had over the years. She wonders if their son Dennis does these things for his girlfriend, or if her daughter Nicole expects them from the men she dates.
She was a receptionist for a local performing arts theater, a salesperson at a gardening center, and a volunteer at the animal rescue society. Now, every job feels as impermanent as the summer. They are never things she can see herself doing for the rest of her life.
Online, she finds an opening at a salon looking for a receptionist. Not that she and Dan need the extra money, but her grooming habits add up by the end of the month. There are waxings, facials, pedicures and manicures, plus hair dying, cutting, and styling. Surely a salon would give its employees discounts. Anne stretches out her arms and legs, distancing herself from her body, in order to create as much surface area as possible to allow the surrounding air to cool her.
After applying for several other jobs online, she spends the rest of her day reorganizing her kitchen cabinets and doing laundry. Her cat, Ginny, and a radio tuned to a classical music station keep her company. She makes a smoothie for lunch, one enhanced with flax seeds and other omega-3 fatty acids to keep her heart healthy. That night, Dan comes home with a diaper genie, a tall, white kitchen garbage can featuring a lid activated by a foot pedal. His only response is a shrug before he retreats to their bedroom to change out of his work clothes.
After dinner, Dan settles into his office to catch up on work while Anne takes a copy of Self magazine into the family room. She re an article on an actress who has recently given birth. It includes tips on how the woman regained her pre-pregnancy figure.
Anne remembers what it was like to have a body that she controlled. But she could not imagine raising a newborn at their age. The scare had turned out to be nothing more than a fibroid, a mass of tissue growing in her uterus and enveloping her ovaries. A hysterectomy had taken care of it all. She turns on the lamp on the side table. There had been a charge for medical waste disposal on the hospital bill the insurance company sent them after her surgery. It had taken her a few moments to realize this meant the disposal of her uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even the fibroid mass.
She wonders now what they did with these useless bits and pieces of her. Were they incinerated? There are power plants that burn garbage to create energy. Could they also use human parts that were otherwise going to waste? No, most people are too squeamish for that. At least then what was taken from her could be put to further use. She imagines turning on a light in her house and this being made possible by her uterus. Sometime after midnight, a night sweat wakes her from a deep sleep and she scolds her hypothalamus. But it ignores her, a defiant child far out of her reach and testing the limits of what it can get away with.
She turns over to look at her sleeping husband. Even with only the dim moonlight to brighten their bedroom, Anne can see the tufts of gray intruding like weeds among the dark brown hairs on his chest. Once, she would have stroked his arm and woken him, and he would have rolled over regardless of the time, easily persuaded to take care of her needs. If only she could put up posters in the neighborhood asking for help to find her missing libido.
If only they could go back in time. No matter how hard she digs in her heels, nothing will stop her forward momentum. The next day, long after Dan has left for work, Anne showers and dresses for her a. She picks out a shirt with a deep v-neck and form-fitting jeans to wear, along with a pair of high-heeled wedge sandals. At the salon, she is greeted by the staff and her hairstylist, Yvonne, with an insincere warmth she expects.
They would love to hear something as embarrassing as that, but she would never betray her husband. For Anne, her marriage has always been like the Halloween candy Nicole hid under her bed as : a secret pleasure she keeps to herself. She endures the thorough lathering and conditioning, her neck jammed down onto the black porcelain sink. Her wet hair is combed away from her face, and the harsh lights make her look like an older, exhausted version of herself.
Something edgier, more mature, more current—all words and phrases Yvonne has at one time or another conjured up to convince Anne to allow her to work her cutting magic. With a doubtful smile, Yvonne begins her work and Anne relaxes. What difference would it make? Other than that it would mean cutting off another part of her. On her way home, she stops at the supermarket to pick up a few ingredients she needs for dinner. She recently read an anti-aging book that claimed blueberries and salmon are the key to looking younger and living longer.
The man behind the fish counter grins at her as he hands her the salmon she selected, and Anne smiles gratefully back. She heard somewhere that forty is the new thirty, which makes her 38, a good age to be a woman. A time when her body was still intact and compliant. It had felt lush then, a thing capable of giving and receiving pleasure. Not like just after the surgery, when Anne felt as spayed as their cat. Her monthly visits to the salon ensure not a single strand of gray shows among the brown waves, and the roots are never allowed to betray her age.
Anne even started wearing low-cut shirts and push-up bras. But despite all her efforts to shore her outside, to put up a good front, she sees the gutted whole fish on display behind the glass, thinks of the long scar that bisects her abdomen, and imagines her own flesh pulled apart to reveal an empty abdominal cavity. That night, she grills the salmon for dinner, and Dan blends his portion into a smoothie of his own. He pours the gloppy peach mess into a bowl then sits down to eat it with a napkin tied around his neck. She opens it and the smell of sour milk and formula rises to her nose, but there is no accompanying memory triggered by the scent.
There are simply too many years between now and the last time she smelled this particular odor. She waves the bottle in his direction. Here, check. My mouth has been hurting all day, and I think I have a fever. He looks the same, older, yes, with more lines radiating from the corners of his eyes and carved across his forehead. He says nothing for several moments, only bats around a soft orange toy between his hands, like a kitten. He must have dug it out of the storage bin in their attic. Part of the things Anne saved to pass on to the grandchildren they might have one day.
There is silence between them after that, an emptiness of words that feels like it could become as infinite as space. A part of her wants to leave it that way. Because it would be easier. In case I drown? She nods, still unwilling to speak. After a few minutes, the silencing of the TV brings her out of her blank state.
Anne looks down at the pacifier still clutched in her hand. She turns on the hot water and rinses the cat hairs off the blue rubber before placing it in the drying rack next to the sink. Without much thought, she takes the bottle and rinses that out too, using the scrubber she finds in the utensil container of the rack. She notices how easily she falls back into the motions of motherhood—for her husband. Whatever happened to being a wife? Anne wonders. She tries to remember the last time she and Dan kissed or embraced with any passion, and can only recall holding him after his father died.
She stops washing out the bottle then, and throws it and the scrubber into the steel sink. As she passes the family room on her way to the bathroom, she sees the Baby Einstein DVD case on the coffee table. Anne walks over to it and grabs the case, which she opens and rips in half before throwing both pieces at the couch.
They fly only a few feet, without making any sort of satisfying sound, denying her the satisfaction of hearing something break. In the bathroom, the water is still running into the tub. Dan seems asleep, his penis shriveled close to his body. She wants to yell at him and shake him out of this odd state, but the utter relaxation of his body stops her. When she kneels down on the bath mat beside the tub, he opens his eyes, staring at her with a blankly happy expression on his face similar to the one her babies sometimes wore.
After she turns off the water, she reaches for a washcloth and a bar of soap.Messy diaper punishment stories
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