Stepping On a Lego
A gruesomely exhausting horror story
Lucy’s watch buzzes her awake. She taps the front to make it stop. Five in the morning. Please make it stop. Staring at the ceiling fan spinning round, she pulls her phone in front of her face and while she checks her email, she thinks through her mental list for the day. A nagging thought in the depths of her consciousness is poking at her, reminding her of all of the morning routine and wellness blogs that specifically advise against starting your morning like this. But, she is convinced these people couldn’t possibly have young children. Her phone almost drops and hits her in the face, but she catches it quickly. That little jolt of her heart beat is just the thing she needed to help her wake up. Reframe your negative experiences. She laughs to herself.
She places her phone down on the nightstand and gracefully flops her tired legs onto the wood floor. Standing up, she shuffles her feet slowly across the floor and into her bathroom. Lucy brushes her teeth and rinses her face with water. After toweling off, she catches her reflection in the mirror and stares at her face. Raising her eyebrows, her collagen-deprived skin goes up, and then promptly falls back down. She adds ‘buy collagen and read that article again’ to her mental list.
Lucy ties her bathrobe around her and at the top of the stairs, she is overly delicate placing her feet on the stairs quietly. Careful not to wake the sleeping monsters so she can have a quiet minute alone. Lucy walks to the kitchen to pour herself a cup of coffee but realizes she forgot to program the coffee maker. She starts getting breakfast ready for the kids. Looking in the fridge she adds ‘buy groceries and get takeout tonight’ to her mental list. After the coffee finishes brewing, she pours herself a cup and takes a sip. Lucy puts the mug back down on the counter.
The sound of footsteps dart across the hall above her. She walks to the bottom of the stairs and sees her littlest at the top, quietly curled in a ball underneath a blanket. She walks up and carries him downstairs and rolls him onto the couch. She gets him set-up with cartoons on his tablet and a cup of milk. She adds ‘buy lots of milk and look into the price of a cow’ to her mental grocery list.
Lucy walks to the bathroom and when she’s done she reaches for toilet paper. Her fingers scratch the cardboard roll. She can hear footsteps landing like bricks on the stairs and then her oldest opens the bathroom door. She tells him to go sit on the couch and she will be right out. He tiredly whines but relents after The Glare finds its way across her face. Lucy pulls a few tissues out of the tissue box and adds ‘buy toilet paper and restock bathrooms’ to her grocery and mental list.
She sets her kids lunch boxes on the counter and starts pulling out food to fill them. Looking through the fridge, she remembers that they are out of jelly but she thinks there might be a few jars in the storage room in the basement. She flips on the basement light and walks downstairs. Putting her hand up to her face, she covers her view of the laundry room. That is a thing that is always seared into her mental list. She walks into the dark storage room and the light from the hall shines in so she can see a lone jar of strawberry jelly on the shelf. She pushes away the urge to add ‘organize the storage room’ to her list. She snags the jar of jelly and walks out on the cold tile floor. She can hear her kids upstairs fighting about something.
Annoyed, she hurriedly walks out of the storage room when searing pain shoots up the bottom of her foot. She bends over in agony. Fuck. She lifts her bare foot to examine it and nestled in the middle is the tiniest little Lego piece. She angrily tosses it across the floor for someone else to step on later and walks with her foot curled up the stairs. She adds ‘wear shoes at all times inside and remind the boys, for the hundredth time, to clean their toys’ to her mental list.
Lucy vigorously finishes packing the boys lunches making sure to pack at least one vegetable to placate her kids teachers. She pulls the boys from the breakfast table and musters up enthusiasm to encourage them to get themselves dressed. Lucy helps her youngest find his way out of his shirt when her face scrunches up. She adds ‘bath tonight’ to her mental list.
Lucy kisses them goodbye and they walk out of the house hand-in-hand to wait at the bus stop. She looks at her watch and panics at the time. A flicker reminds her of her cup of coffee on the counter. She takes a sip and it is ice cold.
©Kristin Tilley, February 2021