I flip the light switch. Nothing happens.
Dammit! I forgot. Again. Has it been two weeks or three since I stashed the broken floor lamp in the closet? The snow days are blending together. Did you know they put dirt in the base of such lamps as ballast? I know because there is a ring of gravel on the floor where my lamp once stood. You can’t see it right now because it’s too dark.
Dim light from the hallway reveals the shadow of the desk to my left. Inching by, I navigate around the bed to reach the lamp on the dresser. My way is fraught with hazards. A jumble of books lays straight ahead. They used to be stacked neatly on three shelves until my six-year-old tipped over the bookcase last week. I heard a thunk and ran to investigate. He ignored my command to “Put those back where they belong!” I replaced each book myself. An hour later, I watched as Philip toppled the bookcase again. Fuck it, I thought, and left the books on the floor.
As luck would have it, a full moon shines outside the window over our bed. No blinds block its glow. Philip mangled those the same day he broke the lamp. I use the lunar gleam to detect the random objects strewn across my bedroom floor: assorted markers (washable), one toy car, deflating balloons and a half-full, smashed-in box of shredded Kleenex. I make it to the dresser without impaling my sole, bashing my shin or stubbing my toe. I grope until I feel the switch and turn on the lamp. I can see.
If only a cartoon light bulb would appear illuminated over my head, signaling a brilliant idea. Maybe then I would know how to stop all of this mayhem. I can’t send my son to school when it’s closed. I can’t take him outside when it’s too cold. We installed a door chain, but that only slows him down. He pulls so hard on the knob that I’m afraid he’ll break the frame. Plus, the endless energy and need for sensory input will only migrate to another room in the house.
Do you have any suggestions? Do you want to see the devastation for yourself?
I’ll leave the light on for you.