You like to move a mile a minute, Taurus, especially when you’ve got an idea or a project in the works. However, with three planets in your twelfth house today, slowing down wouldn’t be such a bad idea; in fact, making time for yourself to relax and recharge, perhaps through meditation or yoga, is something we’d highly recommend. Wounded by someone’s words or feeling disheartened and pessimistic? Pull back from the situation, and try not to take everything so darn personally. Give yourself some much-needed alone time, and if you need some support and encouragement, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
“I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.”—
“I change my life when I change my thinking. I am Light. I am Spirit. I am a wonderful, capable being. And it is time for me to acknowledge that I create my own reality with my thoughts. If I want to change my reality, then it is time for me to change my mind.”—Lousie L. Hay
Max awoke to his mother looming over the wooden trundle bed that occupied most of his room.
“Up, up, up,” she repeated sternly.
He did not respond at first but once she left he slowly began to awaken. Limb by limb, he began to peel himself apart and crawl out of bed. Slowly pressing each toe down against the cold hardwood, he let the coolness rise from his feet up through his legs and into his torso, hoping it would eliminate the massive knot that was forming in his stomach. His bleary eyes began to open but that only made him feel worse. He stared at the clock hands dancing past each other on his wall. He couldn’t read time yet but he knew once the little one touched the eight he would have to be ready or his mother would be back, stomping up the stairs and dragging him back down them.
Time for school again. He had only been going for a couple of days but it was already awful. The other children enjoyed splattering mud all over their bodies. The other children enjoyed digging for earthworms and squeezing them in two. The other children enjoyed playing. Max felt differently. He cringed at the site of the brown flecks on his tennis shoes. A small speck felt huge and overwhelming, engulfing the stark white canvas and sending Max into a fury of tears and frustration. It was all too much: the dirt and the sand and the pets and the children. The outside was too much. Max was happiest alone. Happiest while stacking his books in neat rows, some by size, some by color. He was starting to learn the alphabet and he grew increasingly excited at the prospect of being able to read them all by himself.
It was Friday. Max knew that. He had days of the week down, he knew his birthday was April 21st and that Christmas came after Thanksgiving. He knew that Fridays were bad, worse than Mondays, because he was tired from the unbearably long week. And on Fridays all the other children talked about play dates. The thought of holding hands with Lucy or Erin or Molly or Miles and running around a filthy city playground brought the lurching feel back. He felt his shirt getting tighter and his insides churning faster. He closed his eyes, trying to think of polka dots or rulers, something soothing but all he could see were rusty swings and slides covered in snot. Germs. Max hated germs. And all of the other children had germs, he was sure of it.
The day progressed slowly but it was almost noon. Soon it would be time for lunch and that put Max at ease. He wasn’t especially hungry but he looked forward to unpacking his lunch and having a few minutes to himself, distracted from the other children by the methodical nature of mealtime. Once the bell rang he rushed to his cubby, grabbing the shiny plastic box and running to a small wooden table in corner, where no one else sat. Although the other kids were just feet away he placed his lunchbox on the table and focused on the green stripes lining the outside until he couldn’t hear anything else. Unlatching the box sent a pang of relief through his tiny, trembling body. He was finally calm. The lid popped open and he ran his fragile fingertips along the plastic bags inside. One for carrots, one for peanut butter and jelly, and one for apple slices. He reached to the bottom and grabbed the paper towel, placing it squarely in front of him. Carrots first, he opened the bag and took out the six small, orange sticks, lining them up on the bottom edge of the towel. Then he took out the apple slices, vertically aligning them above the carrots. His sandwich was last, and he placed that at the top of the towel, spreading each half apart so that his lunch formed a perfect square. He began from the outside and worked his way towards the middle until every last crumb was gone and it looked as if he had never eaten at all.
Max’s mood from lunch carried him through the rest of the day. After a few more hours of playing school was over and it was time for his mother to pick him up. Max was the first kid outside, waiting on the concrete steps, swinging his feet above the sidewalk. Tap, tap, tap, he repeated silently as his fingers bounced up and down beside him. Five minutes passed and the other children flooded out, running to the cars already parked in the circular driveway. Mothers and fathers ran to their children, hugging, kissing, and whisking them off to every filthy place Max could think of. Still, he couldn’t help but look down as each of his classmates were gently strapped into their car seats. He watched them all leave and he waited. He waited for another ten minutes but no one came. He looked down and tried to stretch his feet, hoping to reach the sidewalk below. But no matter how much effort he put in his legs were just too short. He carried on stretching and retracting for another five minutes and looked up occasionally, only to have his gaze met by an empty driveway. Suddenly, Mrs. Godfrey appeared above him.
“Who is supposed to pick you up today Max?” she asked him with a worried look on her wrinkled face.
“My mommy,” he replied knowingly. She was the only one who picked him up.
“Okay sweetie, wait right here,” she replied, patting his shoulder for reassurance.
She went back into the classroom, leaving Max feeling more alone than before. He began to imagine what might have befallen his mother. Max grew anxious and leapt to his feet, finally reaching the sidewalk. It was only two miles to their house and if he ran he could make it in less than fifteen minutes. He didn’t want to wait. But, as he was about to leave, Mrs. Godfrey emerged from the classroom and called out to him,
“Mr. Henderson is on his way to pick you up Max, please come back inside.”
Max then knew that all was not right. A few minutes later Mr. Henderson’s rusty Toyota trudged up the driveway. The old man parked and hobbled slowly up the stairs, his cane knocking against each step above him, nearly tipping him over. He made it to the top and stood huddled with Mrs. Godfrey for a few moments, whispering inaudibly. Mr. Henderson did not appreciate being torn away from his routine but he was not one to defy the standards of neighborliness. Both adults turned to Max and explained that Mr. Henderson would drop Max off at home. Max slumped down in the back seat, his feet floating above the floor of the car, his hands picking at the peeling gray leather. Each block stretched out endlessly in Max’s mind, causing his feet to swing faster. He dug his fingers further and further into the leather seats, peeling away at each layer of material. At last they arrived at the small green craftsman and Max curled over, gasping for air, preparing himself for what lay ahead. His mother’s run down white Mercedes station wagon was parked crookedly in the driveway. Confident someone was home Mr. Henderson left Max to wander inside alone, leaving to his own house next door once he saw Max open the front door and wave goodbye.
Max pushed the screen door open and called out for his mother. No one responded so he called out again, and listened, following a faint murmur coming from the living room. He found her sprawled out on the sofa, still in her silky nightgown, slumped beside a hefty set of empty glass bottles. Frozen for a moment, he slowly crept towards the strange woman who was reminiscent of his mother. He brushed the hair off her face and gently pushed against her shoulders.
“Mommy, mommy, are you awake?” he uttered shakily.
She did not respond so he pushed her harder, causing her head to bob up and down. With one swoop her head knocked against the wall and she awoke, confused.
“Leave Mommy, alone, get out of here,” she yelled at her son once she realized who he was.
He was looming over her now, frightened by how weak she looked. Max had seen this ghost before. It was part of his mother, a part that came out when he didn’t pack his own lunch, or turn off the lights before he went to bed. It was part of his mother that came out when things were bad and Max felt overwhelmed by the weight of whatever he might have done to cause this ghost to emerge.
He ran upstairs, placing his shoes alongside his bed, aligning them with the other pairs and pushing them against the wooden frame so they didn’t stick out too much. He made his bed again, although he had already made it this morning, carefully folding the top sheet over his comforter, tapping each little cowboy and smoothing out the folds, racking his mind for what could have set her off.
He went down the hall and climbed into the bathtub, hoping to calm himself down and find the solution to his problem downstairs. He closed his eyes and pressed his back against the ceramic, letting his head slide down to the bottom. Please, please, God, tell me why I made Mommy change. But nothing came to him, nothing he had done today at least, so he crept down the stairs and picked up the bottles from beside her, screwing the caps back on and taking them outside to the big blue bins. Max knew by now that the blue ones were for bottles and the black ones for everything else. He came back in and dusted off the coffee table, lined up the magazines, and left his mother draped against the sofa. At least it was neat now.
“Dressing up mentally changes you. People dress down too much. I see a guy at church with cargo shorts, and I’m like, ‘C’mon man. Don’t play to the lowest common denominator.’”—Sid Mashburn (via musingsinfemininity)