There was a story I’d heard about a woman who’d had enough of her children

by Catherine Lacey

One morning after her husband had driven off she dressed the children, a small boy and two very small twin girls, and she put them in the minivan and she drove the minivan to a police station and she took the children out of the minivan and she told them to hold each other’s hands and not to speak, that whatever happened, they should just say nothing, and then she led the children into the police station and she told an old man at the front desk:

These children–I found these children I do not know who they belong to or where they should go, and she turned and walked out and got into her minivan and drove home and took a nap and that evening when her husband came home and said, Dear, where are the children? And she said, What children?

The husband said he could see in her eyes that she had gotten up and left herself and isn’t that the worst kind of leaving? No one is OK when someone leaves like that and I knew I never wanted to leave that way. I told myself that if I ever felt like some part of me was going to get up and leave me like the mother that had left herself, I would make sure I went with it.

I can’t remember the end of the story but I think it involves the husband going to the police station to retrieve his children and finding that they hadn’t said a world all day.