You get home and there’s a thin layer of dust on everything, two dead spiders in the tub, a ring around the toilet bowl, a jungle of weeds in the garden, and nothing in the fridge but various sauces and spreads, two blocks of unopened mozzarella cheese, and one bottle of root beer. Was your house always this dark? Your calendars are all on the wrong month. Your neighborhood feels like a foreign territory. Were there always so many cars parked on the street, so many people and so much noise? You have new neighbors you’ve never met, and the ones in the back corner are burning such a big fire in their backyard that when you first see it you think their house is burning down. There are tomatoes and cucumbers and even a few strawberries, but the potatoes in the back died. You accidentally packed one of your father-in-laws prescriptions in the hurry to get back the road and need to add the Post Office to your to-do list that already feels too long. Later in the day, when there’s still things that need done and you aren’t even unpacked yet, you take a two hour nap.
You forgot to plug the alarm clock back in so you wake up and it’s starting to get light out and your dog is thumping his tail expecting breakfast but you have no idea what time it is. Your head still hurts a little because you are dehydrated. The only thing that felt familiar last night was your bed but only after you closed your eyes, after you finished the book you’ve been reading all summer. You had trouble falling asleep because you can’t forget the horrible thump the family of ducks made as you ran them over with your car that last day of driving. There was nothing you could do, going 75 miles an hour down the highway, cars all around, only seeing them the second before you hit them, so shocked to see a family of ducks on the road somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming that you barely registered what they were before you heard the thud. “There was nothing I could do” and “Where was she even going?” and you put your hands over your eyes as soon as it happens because you knew you wouldn’t be able to keep yourself from looking in the rear view mirror and you wouldn’t be able to unsee that. You try not to think about any of those babies left unharmed, alone, certain to be hit by one of the cars immediately after you, and you hope that they all died at once, that if you hit one you hit them all and it was over that fast.
Life goes by at such a terrifying speed. You make all these plans, agree to so much, sign up and register for things, are going so fast that you can’t avoid doing harm even if you wanted to, and really all you want is to slow down. You want to go through every room in your house, touch and clean every item, carefully placing each one back where it goes, clearing out what’s unnecessary. You wake up in the morning, already anticipating the heat of the day, wondering when you’ll stop feeling so tired.