No refund

I turn the page of the magazine, which I expected to add a light note to my day. The title of the article was the perfectly crafted to attract stupid people like me. I cannot avoid reading it to the end, despite the alarms going off after a couple of sentences. Once over, I think that I did not need that crap this morning. As if I did not feel enough already for my shouting…now, to all my shortcomings I have to add that technically speaking I am a criminal too, according to this new law the article was about. Great way to start my day. I grab my bag, and on the way out of the underground I throw the half-read magazine in the rubbish bin. The author of that stupid law was obviously a man, who is always too busy with something to take care of his kids. I feel a burning in my throat, here it goes again. I take an anti-acid pill, and I am happy at least that I remembered buying a new pack the day before. Maybe I should add Valium to my daily medicine intake, then I might not shout. Maybe, only maybe. I open the office door and greet my colleague. She asks me why I am hissing. I did not notice that, but I would not be surprised if I did.

“What are you pissed off about today? Kids, husband, work, your cleaning lady, the world?”

“You make it sound as if I were in a bad mood every day,” I say.

“No, but I can see that your stress level is quite high in these last few months. What’s wrong?”

“I was fine, but then I read this stupid article about how a parent is a criminal if they quarrel in front of the children.”

“I heard about it. Is it not good? I mean, to protect the children?”

“Who protects the parents from them? They are not angel, I can tell you that,” I say pushing the on button of the computer as a full stop.

“They have not chosen to be there and…”, I interrupt her. I don’t want to hear the same things over and over. I actually signed up for the Mulino Bianco family, and not for this messy, frustrating, dirty, loud chaos, which my life has been since then. I want to have a refund and I am frustrated that apparently I won’t get it until I am old. If at all, by the way. Because maybe, when I will be old and dement, my children will put me in a home instead of taking care of me. Another wave of acid flushes up my throat. I need to calm down. I do, and in a somewhat masochistic move, I search for the Mulino Bianco family. Bright and sunny, the pictures flash the kind of family I will never have. I stare at the screen without seeing it, while my brain reproduces every single scream and reproach to my kids and husband, the high pitch of my voice so alive in the memory that I must shake my head. I close the stupid browser and hold my head for a moment, to breathe.

“Are you ok? Do you have again one of your headaches?” I hear my colleague say.

“No, I’m fine. Do you think it will rain this weekend? I want to bring my kids to the park,” I ask her, looking out of the window.

“I don’t think so, it looks sunny enough these days. The forecasts did not say anything about, but you never know what to expect.”

The morning sun was almost as bright as Mulino Bianco advertisement.

“Indeed, I could not agree more. You never know what to expect,” I say, opening my e-mail program to start my working day.


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