Edith Wharton

Dirty dishes piled in the sink. Clean laundry on the living room floor. Toys strewed from the mud room to the back door. I lay out the good china next to the bucket of fried chicken.
Joseph sits down at the head of the dining room table and his eyes say, takeout again?
Burning, my eyes retort, if you don’t like it cook dinner your damn self.
Zack and Liam run to their places.
“Yeah, chicken!” Liam shouts. Zack applauds the abruptly stops.
Joseph moves a stack of coloring books off the table while looking at me. I elbow an open box of crayons onto the floor.
“Oopsie Momsy.” Liam climbs under the table after the crayons.
“Did ya know George Washington? We learned about him at school,” Liam asked. “He’s president.”
“No he’s not,” Zack snapped. “Ben Franklin is president.”
“Uh uh Washington is president and he’s bestest.” The boys begin to kick each other under the table.
My eyes plead with Joseph to handle something for once.
Joseph’s eyes say, I don’t work two jobs to come home to this.
My hands are trembling. I bury my hands under the table and stamp my feet.
Zack sticks out his tongue.
“Mommy who’s bestest?”
“It’s best, moron.”
“Mommy mommy mommy.”
I squeeze my sides. “Washington and Franklin are both wonderful. I’ve always loved Edith Wharton. Daddy and I visited her house before you were born. She’s a writer like Mommy.”
I turn to look at Joseph. His head is buried in the plate. He looks up at gtee boys and me. “Yeah just like mommy.”
My hands suddenly throw my glass on the floor.

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