The to-do list

“You’re up and at it early this morning, aren’t ya,” my neighbor commented when he pulled into his driveway after his third shift ended. “Need any help?” This came with a nod toward my backyard, where I was headed with my enormous wooden bowl under my arm.

“Nope. Got it. But thanks,” I smiled and replied.

The neighbor nodded, a single quick jerk of his head, and unlocked his own front door, forgetting about me the instant he stepped inside.

I hurried to my garden, bursting with ready to pick goodness. I harvested all that was ready to go, humming to myself, thinking about the to-do list I had made in the early morning. The gathering took little time.The area wasn’t large and it was laid out to simplify the entire task.

“Wow, busy little bee today!” My sister-in-law was all grins and giggles when I stopped my car in her driveway a couple of hours later. She asked me in for a cup of coffee, but I declined, still thinking about the to-do list in my head.

“Hon, why don’t you rest some this afternoon,” from my husband, when I finished putting away the groceries from my supermarket visit. I just smiled and turned to the dishwasher, humming to myself and thinking about the to-do list.

“My, aren’t you just too much,” the church ladies gushed when they arrived in the evening to pick up the hand-made quilts and afghans I’d called to donate to their upcoming charity auction. They oohed and ahhed over the tiny details of the baby blankets, all the little bunnies and flowers, the butterflies and friendly caterpillars.

“Just ignore it and think about your to-do list,” the image in the mirror told me, as I readied myself for bed. “Tomorrow is another day, make another list then.” I tried to listen to the mirror, but the to-do list in my head was short. Almost too short to do any more distracting.

The last thing on my to-do list was fall asleep. But it was the most difficult of all the chores. Falling asleep meant not having a to-do list, not having a distraction from the scenario that tried to play itself out in my head. The event that alternately screamed and whispered to me.

No to-do list to think about meant reaching for the wickedly curved, jewel-handled dagger in its ornate display box on my husband’s desk. No to-do list meant watching my hand, clasping tightly to the knife, plunging the blade deep into my thigh, over and over. No to-do list meant helplessly crying as blood pooled and my vision weakened. No to-do list meant not being a burden, or worse, being ignored and forgotten.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll skip the to-do list after all.

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