Making Out: Salt, Sweet

Making Out is a series centered on how Jess Burnquist, mother, writer, and teacher is "making out' as she processes adolescent issues amid the glare of parenthood and the shadows of nostalgia.

It was 109° outside yesterday--I felt an internal simmer as well. I couldn’t put my finger on why I was feeling so irritable. Perhaps it was because the summer is drawing to a close. In Arizona, school lets out in May and we return in late July. The three-week mark before school starts is when I typically feel that peculiar mix of excitement to return and see students along with regret and longing for unscheduled days--days which have been rich with writing and family and friends this summer. In any case, all day I felt on edge and an underlying murky frustration.

During the hottest part of the day, I had to drive my daughter to an appointment. We missed the building three times and I had to make a gazillion U-turns before miraculously arriving one minute early. The receptionist attempted to collect 3x the normal amount and I uncharacteristically raised my voice, then refused to pay more than the copay-or-we-will-just-leave. She accepted my terms. My daughter looked at me as though I had lost my mind when I sat down next to her.

“You’re smirking,” she told me.

We waited for forty minutes to be seen for less than five. On the way home, I allowed my daughter to have control of the music. She played Butthole Surfers and some Blink 182. I gave her so much unnoticed side eye. My phone rang. It was my husband wanting to know how the appointment went. “I’m just failing at everything,” I blurted out. He was quiet on his end of the line. “Go home and get out of the heat, honey and I’ll see you at home in a bit.” So I did. We abandoned our original plan to go to a local bakery where I would have worked on some editing responsibilities and my daughter would have worked on her summer project.

We went home. I looked at the dishes collecting in the sink. I noticed the dust on the blinds. I went to the bathroom and noticed that our toilet paper supplies were running out. I wandered into my bedroom to notice my unmade bed and a pile of laundry that needed folding. I stepped on the scale, then shoved it with my foot. I noticed new wrinkles near my eyes. I caught a side-view of my face in the mirror and googled chin-toning exercises. I ended up on the living room couch and found something to watch on Netflix. I didn’t tell my daughter to work on her summer project. I let my son leave the house without cleaning his room.

A couple of hours passed. My husband arrived home and I half-heartedly called out a greeting from the couch. He gently placed a mixed bag of snack chips next to me, then gave me a kiss.

“What are these?”

“When I called you earlier, I could tell that it would be a salty/sweet kind of night,” he said.

“How did you know I needed these stupid chips? I didn’t know I needed these stupid chips.”

“We’ve been married a long time. I know my girl.”

And then he quietly placed a box of tampons on the couch and the world came into focus. This morning I woke up with my period--and I also woke up next to my best friend.

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