As a five-year-old, I didn’t know how poor we were. We had just moved to Manhattan and knew no one in the city . . .
Category: Terrible Twosdays
Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.
In my mind I could hear the phone ringing, but my eyes were fixated on the first page of a chapter in my thesis that needed work. All I could think about was how sick I was of that thesis. It all seemed pointless. None of the contents of this two hundred–page document was going to change the world in the slightest way . . .
On September 11th of this year, we drove our thirteen-year-old daughter to a boarding school for children with learning differences.
It was the second-worst day in memory. The first was when she was three months old and the pediatrician told me she had fragile X syndrome . . .
It cut through me like a knife. Not a sharp one—quick and hot and over immediately, no. That would have been too simple. Jacob’s first meltdown was more like a dull, rusted blade that sawed its way back and forth over my heart . . .
She ran up to me kind of sideways, half willing herself to approach me and half strangely drawn to me. Even from across the room, she yelled out for all to hear:
“Why did you come?!” . . .
The lights went out. His parents always turn the light out, even though he asks if they can stay on. The lights went out, and his room transformed. The posters on his walls disappeared underneath a blanket of darkness. The bed gradually seemed further and further from the ground. The lights went out, and the monsters came out to play . . .
It was a normal stay-at-home dad day for me. I was chatting with tall, thirty-something Dominique, broad-shouldered in a sundress, big hands like fluttering pigeons. She was paying her daughter’s college tuition by watching a pair of three-year-old twin boys whose parents sold antiques in the West Village. Dominique held my attention and that of a couple of moms—Juliet, a single bartender, and Sage, an erstwhile graphic designer whose husband renovated brownstones. They each had a toddler. As usual, I was the only dad in the park. But caregiver-ship trumped gender. I was, essentially, one of the gals . . .
My son Martin is still learning to grasp the concepts of you and me . . .
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