That time six was underfoot and had an idea about balloons. Creative non-fiction by Tiffany Hitesman

I intended to begin research for that paper—the one proposed by the Dean I admire —I think that is what I intended but then the six’s filó tablet did not work right—and how is it that a filó tablet does not work, anyways? the six should be at Kindergarten, but of course he is home, much like all of the other fives and sixes and sevens who would normally be off in school practicing sight words and phonetic sounds, but who now hangout underfoot, observing that it rains even though the sun shines and we should go outside and see because isn’t this amazing? ( the collie dog and the rhubarb patches agree) and then the six suggests that we make drums out of cans and balloons—it might be a good idea, right, mom?—and that is the worst idea and I long to do that research about narrative thinking and to grade those online discussions written by freshman who miss their dorm rooms that they thought they hated; maybe they do not miss the dorms, but the stability of the WiFi and the sounds of other students that filled the space as they waited for their Frappuccino in the library’s Starbucks, but at any rate, I do not long for that Zoom meeting which is in oh, fuck, fifteen minutes and it is a do-not-enable-video day because no one needs an image of this, and Power Rangers and Ding Dongs it is so that the six can be almost quiet while my mic is muted as other academics debate if the correct word in the proposed policy is “libel” or “slander” while I look at a window into my mini-mint field; mint once kindly offered to take over my life, which did seem kind at the time since the men I married want nothing to do with it and ah, a pandemic is a good time to be a queen of divorce because these many messes are mine. How I love them.


Tiffany Hitesman resides in Idaho (a place different from Iowa), where she teaches First Year Writing and Nonfiction at Boise State. Her essays have appeared in Proximity, Brevity, The Idaho Statesman, and SIAR.

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