5:00 p.m. run the water. set the pot to the side until the water runs clear. turn on the element. the water is cold so it is time to fill the pot, water splashing over the side, pot settles on the stove and water steams off the wet underside like mice nails chittering across the linoleum, it is a dreadful thought, there are mouse traps under the sink, Daniel must put them out tonight.

the pot begins to rock back and forth with the water expanding within, trapped and just waiting to boil, it is a miracle every pot in every home doesn’t explode, just spew its contents out onto dinner plates, and everyone thinks it is perfect, better than ever before because why do we work so hard? and no one notices? I have to stop asking questions as if they are sentences.

chop onions, cut up vegetables, the kids like theirs raw, Daniel likes his cooked, start the frying pan, just enough time to run down and put in a laundry, the phone is ringing, damn, ignore it, that’s what answering machines are for, “Hello, No I’m sorry it’s a bad moment, no, no, I don’t think we need carpet cleaning, it’s a bad time, call back later—when the lady of the house is home.” I am insane—I have broken down completely—I am pretending I am not here, I am pretending not to be me.

race downstairs, grab the load out of the washing machine, that’s what pre-sortings for, throw it in the dryer, set the timer, be sure to listen because it is broken now and dings merrily away until you come down and open the door—it is really annoying—once I forgot and I woke up in the middle of a dream because there was this bell dinging and dinging and it’s time to run back up stairs to throw the onions into the frying pan and get that meatloaf going. 45 minutes to showtime.