What’s Inside Your Mystery Box?

I wake up with “Mystery Box” stuck in my head on repeat.  Who am I?  I wonder to myself.  I remember that I have a child.  I remember that I have a wife.  The recycling truck pulls up — lights flashing, glass clanging loudly, electric arm humming as it lifts the bright blue bin at the end of our driveway.  The sounds temporarily replace “Mystery Box,” and I remember that I live in the suburbs.  It’s not that I ever forget all of these things.  Even in my sleep the thoughts are rolling around crashing loudly like waves in my brain:  fears about what could happen to my son, worries about the toll on my relationship parenting can take.  I dream.  I wake.  I never forget, but sometimes sleep has a way of momentarily wiping clean the slate, and I wake up disoriented.  Who is this person in the bed next to me?  Who am I?  

I fill with anger at the recycling truck.  Do not wake up my son, I think.  I think about things I will do to the recycling truck if it does.

I coax myself out of sleep, out of bed.  Alone time.  Me time.  Who am I?  It’s my fifteen minutes in the morning to remember, to try not to forget.  I am.  I was once my own person.  A singular entity with boundaries that began and ended.  Tight skin and muscle tone that marked the contours of my body.  

It’s dark out, and I see my reflection in my office window.  Is that me?  I see the rainbow colored playpen folded up in the corner, the orange tractor, and “vamoose” the moose.  I see the wine bottle from the night I went into labor on the windowsill.  My hair is stuck up at crazy angles, and in the reflection I see behind me a basket filled with cloth diapers waiting to be stuffed and folded.  I’m a bit bleary-eyed, so perhaps, I am just not seeing clearly.    

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