What can I eat?
What should I eat?
Every decision is a pile of loose rubble I have to climb. It’s easy to get to the top, you naïvely think, because it’s not that high. Piece of cake. But when you set your foot on it, you find yourself sliding back. Others seem perfectly able to climb piles of rubble every day, though. Do they have superpowers? Or are you abnormal?
And, the big question: what should I eat?
It’s so hard to decide. I don’t want to be the one deciding anymore. But I can’t afford to stop either. Urban prefers to let issues resolve themselves. If I wasn’t here to put things to motion, my daughter would never go to therapy, she’d never get the help she needs. I am the one who fixes everything. God, I can’t be the only adult here.
Thank heavens I have Dimitra. She’s the one who guided Urban through my nervous breakdown—so they called it—last Thursday. Does a nervous breakdown cause high blood pressure? I’m sure something’s wrong with me. Everyone else insists it’s “just stress,” as if being unable to breathe and feeling that you should stop existing, now, is a problem that can be described using the word “just.” I don’t know if it’s just stress. I only know everything is hard.
I’m back from the doctor, and I’m hungry. What to have for breakfast is always the toughest decision. I keep chatting with Dimitra, and she asks me what I’d like to eat. Somehow, this simple question resolves it for me. Dimitra is magical that way.
PBJ sandwich, I tell her. I’m Greek, and I live in Germany, and in both those places PBJ is not a thing. Still, I tried it a couple of times—lots of American friends, you see, I wanted to know what the fuss was all about—and I developed a taste for it. I like peanut butter now—who would have thought?
“Do you have the ingredients?” she asks me. She always gets in problem-solving mode, and right now I really appreciate it. And I do have the ingredients, so I make myself a sandwich. But the Earl Grey is a little too strong. What can you do? I’ll use fewer tea leaves next time.
I don’t know why they didn’t see it coming. The kids are kids, so that’s okay, I suppose, how would they know? But that’s an old-fashioned, myopic point of view. Children are not dumb. They did know. They were irritable and upset. Mommy’s not all right. Is she having another meltdown? Why does she freak out when my brother and I talk? We weren’t fighting, we were just talking. “It sounded like you were about to start bickering again,” mommy said. But we really weren’t.
And why can’t mommy answer my questions?
I wish I could explain to them that answering is so hard. Just like everything else. Everything is just so damned hard.
The PBJ sandwich helped a little.
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