Speak Easy


Carla leaned out her window and yelled down to the boy on the street. “And don’t smash the bread this time!” He waved a hand at her without looking up, and she laughed out loud. “He’s gonna smash the bread again,” she said to the parrot swinging in his cage next to her sofa.

The parrot merely blinked at her, shuffling his feet along his perch. The parrot had never spoken, as long as Carla had known him. He was an inheritance from her favorite aunt, who passed suddenly four years ago after a brief battle with cancer.

She sat down on the sofa next to the parrot and dug through the cushions until she found the TV remote. When she turned the television on, she was pleased to see two women screaming at each other on a court show. Carla grinned and dropped the remote next to her, where it sneakily began to slide back between the cushions from whence it came.

A little less than an hour later, long after Carla dozed off to petty court battles, she woke to a knock on her door. She checked her watch and realized that it must be David, back with her groceries.

David grinned at her when she opened the door, and held up a single brown paper grocery bag. Carla sighed, knowing that her loaf of bread would be all the way at the bottom. She passed David a five dollar bill and told him to tell his mother that she said hello before closing the door and bringing the bag into the kitchen.

Sure enough, the bread was smashed at the bottom of the bag. Carla shrugged. It still made pb&j’s, just not the prettiest of pb&j’s. And at least David never brought her broken eggs. She poured herself a glass of lukewarm orange juice before putting that away in the refrigerator, and leaned against the kitchen counter, slowly sipping to make room for the vodka that she always added.

Vodka bottle in hand, Carla returned to the couch, where she dug once more for the remote, and turned the TV off. She topped off her orange juice with a shot of vodka and picked up the paperback romance novel that rested on the coffee table, licking her thumb to more easily flip through the pages until she found where she had left off.

Just as she was getting into the story, the parrot rustled in his cage. She set the book in her lap and cocked her head to watch him. He was a beautiful bird, and excellent company in spite of never speaking a word.

The parrot turned his head to meet her eye with his own, and squawked, “Ronald.”

Carla was so taken aback that she jerked, knocking her book to the floor and nearly dropping her screwdriver.

“Ronald!” The parrot repeated, more insistently. “Ronald!”

Carla’s eyes nearly bulged out of her skull. “That’s not my uncle’s name, so that must be yours. Nice to meet you, Ronald.”

The parrot agreed. “Ronald!”

Carla spent the next three hours trying to explore Ronald’s vocabulary, but it seemed that the only word he would say was his own name, which was plenty good enough for Carla. She just hoped that he would stop saying it before bedtime.

White Noise

My eyes burn; I haven’t been sleeping lately. But the sound of the rain on the roof soothes me. 

The alarm still goes off at the regular time, but I barely notice it anymore. It’s just another background noise that would be annoying if I were alert enough to focus on it. But I’m not, so it buzzes on, unhindered. It turns itself off after an hour. That’s why I bought it. 

I haven’t been to work in weeks. 

I sit on the couch watching the blank screen of my television. I stopped paying the cable bill last year because nothing on was more interesting then anything they offered. The lifelessness of the screen sucks me in.

But sometimes I watch the white noise. 

The only reason I open my front door anymore is my dog. I get her food delivered, and I bring it in at night when no one else is out to see me. I can feel them watching now, like a sunburn on my exposed skin. So I avoid people. It’s fine, really. I don’t need anyone. 

 Maybe the thunderstorm is in my head after all. I look out the window and the street is dry, and the dandelions still bear their fluff.

I could have sworn I heard the raindrops and thunder. 

I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant (TLC, not me)

Nope, not a pleasant surprise. This is about the show on TLC.

We enjoy certain TLC shows in this house. I’ll admit sometimes I won’t even look if I’m flipping channels during the day, because it seems like it’s A Baby Story every time. Tonight I switched from the Wii to TV, and it was I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.

Now, I used to watch this, albeit years ago. It just hasn’t seemed to come on at a time I would have to make a decision about watching it or not. Time has passed, and if I had thought about it, I probably would not watch it, just on general principles of not subjecting myself to something possibly upsetting. But, there it was.

See, today is a better day. I didn’t automatically jump into ‘bitter infertile’ mode. Instead I thought about how unlikely that would be in the infertility community. If we can take nothing else from our journey, we know our bodies.

I used to have to guess when asked for my LMP. I knew next to nothing about what actually happened during a normal cycle. Basically, all I knew was that my cycles were longer than average. Now I can give you TMI for days. It just goes to show you how much difference there can be in two different people’s lives.