Brown Times on Brown Road

I am constantly caught between wanting to freeze time and wanting to fast forward it to a point in the future where it’s just me and my mumu, playing spider solitaire and watching Netflix.

Today is a fast-forward day. I invite you to sit back and relax as I share a tale with you. A tale of poop.

Matt’s mom Judi came for a quick visit on her way to Williamsburg and spent the night last night. As luck would have it, all the boys had nasty head colds and were covered in green goo. And because I couldn’t stop kissing those booger faces, I woke up with no voice—just a papery, wheezy gasp. I tried holding a conversation over breakfast but it just sounded like a very frail grandmother playing a rusty tin whistle, so I went to the playroom with the boys and busied myself changing diapers while Matt and Judi ate.

As I was cleaning up Finn, I caught a glimpse of Bran out of the corner of my eye. He was swinging a diaper above his head, having a super time.

It was a poop diaper.

And not just any poop diaper, but Bran’s morning dump. The big one. I whipped my head around. There were piles of poop flung in a semicircle around me like the world’s grossest fairy ring. There was a squirt of poop on a Lego. One on the wheel of a dump truck (which was kind of perfect). There was dollop of poop sitting cheekily on top of Bran’s head. And Jem, who had gotten caught up in the excitement of Bran’s diaper dance, had followed behind him, scooping up some of the piles for himself and waving them at me proudly.

“Matt!” I screamed, but it sounded like an old farmhouse door creaking softly in an autumn breeze.

I kept yelling for him until I heard him cheerfully call from the kitchen, “Kate, are you saying something?”

“Poop!” I cried. “Poop!” Finn was trying to squirm away with no pants on. Jem and Bran were delirious with joy as they ran around the playroom with the diaper. My voice carried through the house like the far-away squeak of a ghost mouse.

I was still shouting silently about poop when Matt finally showed up. “Oh my god!” he cried.

“Take Jem—he has poop on his hands,” I tried to say.

“Oh my god!” Matt repeated.

“AAAARRGGHH!” shouted my soul in frustration as it left my body. I gestured and wheezed wildly until Matt got the picture. As he washed Jem’s hands and Bran’s hair, I took a second to curse my existence. And then I began to scrub the rug.

“I’m going to have to hit the road now,” said Judi, standing in the hallway looking beautiful and clean. I know it must have pained her to leave her mucus-filled, dung-clad grandbabies; her tired, saddened son; and the mute washerwoman her son had married—but she put on a brave face.

Afterwards, I collected the toys that had been sprayed by Bran’s diaper in a pile to be washed. As soon as they saw them, the boys rushed over and started rummaging through them.

“Poop toys!” I screamed.

But the only sound was the high, lonesome whistle of a lost dream, floating gently on the wind.


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