Our new house is in the perfect neighborhood, but it is remarkably isolated.It faces a neighbor’s side yard across the street, and all of our adjacent neighbors’ houses face away from ours.I had not foreseen this isolation.The boys and I are in our front yard often, but few people notice or care.We are strangely alone.
I take walks by the river with my husband and two small children, sorely missing our old dog who died of cancer when we moved into the new house. Trin and Sam throw rocks at the water’s edge while Fred rages against the many faults of our political system and his father’s parenting.He feels helpless and despondent.No amount of empathy appears to soothe him.I am exhausted and consider shooting him to put him out of his misery.(This is only half a joke.)
I want another baby. I’m afraid to have one with Fred because our family could be on the brink of extinction. I’m tempted to conceive before it disintegrates, so I can have one more child with this person I adore beyond reason. My inner stockbroker determines that it is not a wise investment to have a baby now.I decide to plan for a new dog instead.
Sam is all-powerful.He is a tiny, half-frail-looking creature, but anything he wants he somehow gets his hands on. All of his development has come ahead of schedule—rolling over, crawling, and walking. I decide to toilet-train him at less than a year, and he agrees. This convinces his brother that he is to be reckoned with as a peer, and Trinidad has never failed since to take him quite seriously.
Fred and I spend hours trying to work out what is going on inside of him. The children are around, on top of, and between us, but we cannot wait to have these conversations alone. I cry into his shoulder as quietly as possible. Trinidad is enraged and hysterical much of the time.He will not sleep, eat, or play without me nearby. I don’t see that he may be feeding off my energy, my pressure cooker tempest of hysterical anger and confusion.I just think that my life is rather exceptionally difficult.
Fred takes the boys for a walk in the park. As soon as my family is out the door and around the corner, I scream and tear at my hair.I fall to my knees on the cold hardwood floor. With tight fists, I stretch out my already-baggy T-shirt as I sob and writhe. I think of shaving my head, binding my breasts, denying the hold gender has on me. I want to hurt myself. I am terrified and alone. I wonder how many people in a five-mile radius are in the midst of this same crisis and do not tell a soul.