nefarious pickling activities

I'm standing in a kitchen. Not my own, not one that I recognize, but a familiar kitchen nonetheless. My mother is at the sink. She has her back to me, but I know with certainty that she is pickling. Pickling something. A grim quietness fills the air between us as I stare, transfixed by her repetitive motions. Move this, plunge that, twist here, shake, and into the jar. Move this, plunge that, twist here, shake, and into the jar. On the floor behind us lies a painter's tarp. I am vaguely aware of a lumpy shape beneath the tarp, though from my vantage point all I can see is that the material seems to rise to some point just beyond the edge of the couch behind us. I am startled when the tarp rustles and a Barbie-esque being leaps from under it, over the couch and lands in a fighters stance. My mother stops mid-pickle, twirls, and does some Charlie's Angel move with her elbow, knocking Ninja Barbie to the floor. She swiftly crouches beside her, grabs her head in her hands and twists. There is an audible "snap", it's reverberations in the quiet room both reassuring and sickening at the same time. In my mind I compare it to the memory I have from childhood of processing chickens. It is not dissimilar, I note.

We are no longer in the kitchen. How we got in the car is unknown, unimportant, so I simply note the change. As my mother turns the key in the ignition, I glance to the backseat, verifying that LG is securely strapped into his car seat. Beside him, on the folded down seats of the Suburban is a carefully rolled up painter's tarp. I sense, rather than see my mother glance in the rear view mirror, and my eyes are drawn to a flurry of activity going on at the house at the top of the hill behind us. Mesmerized, I watch until we are well out of view. My mother drives quietly, purposefully, pausing here, slowing down there.

We are in a secluded part of the woods, engine idling. My mother pushes a button on what appears to be a garage door opener attached to the visor. The back door of the Suburban swings open. The painter's tarp shifts slowly towards the open door, picking up speed as gravity takes hold. As the bundle disappears into oblivion, the Suburban shifts, rising just a bit higher to accommodate it's now lighter load.

I am walking up the stairs. Headed to the kitchen. There should be music, I think. But there is no soundtrack, no tell-tale "da-dun, da-dun" to build up suspense. I don't need a soundtrack, I realize. I am aware, but not overly frightened. Resigned, I decide. I am resigned to whatever it is that might await me at the top of the stairs.

"Mommy?" a little voice pulls me through the layers of sleep that I lay cocooned in. Pulling him in beside me, I lay there in the dark, breathing in his calming sweetness, thankful that it was just a dream. Just as I am drifting back to sleep, I am jolted awake by the realization that I never once even considered objecting to the events. No shame, no remorse. It is sometime later that I give up trying to figure out what that says about me. I roll over in the darkness, hug my baby closer and reach the following conclusion:

There will be no more caffeine after 4pm for me.



.

4 comments:

Jori said...

Holy schnikeys. You had me sucked into that and I think I was even holding my breathe. Scary dream, great writing!

Lora said...

i'm more disturbed by the fact you've processed a chicken before than anything else in all this!

Jacqueline said...

wow, and probably lay off the cheese. I think that contributes to all bad dreams.

I think you didn't object because you saw mom kill a barbie ninja. It's pretty unexpected and not more than a little scary. I wouldn't have objected. Nope. I wouldn't have objected at all. I would have kept my mouth shut except when I asked "What next, mom?"

Lenka said...

Hey... there's the doorbell... Don't worry, the nice men in the van have come to give you a brand new white jacket. Then you get to take a trip to a wonderful place with puffy walls and peace and quiet!! Now doesn't that sound nice...

I saw their schedule for the day, I'm next, so save me a place. luv you!!