My husband’s gone to the grocery store. I’m sitting here with the flu hearing (not listening to) the false tsunami of the dishwasher, sounding so dramatic just to sluice our dishes with some scraping detergent and pillars of water.
My one daughter isn’t home yet, out with friends. The other gone to college, texting often, but still gone. My brain reaches for meaning about empty nests, but ours is still full of the detritus of teendom and my own paper messes. I am reluctant to scoop out the cards written in childish hands, the art projects and the dust, reluctant to move closer to one less, the last, child at home.
I am not a good housekeeper and don’t aspire to be. Our nest will never be empty, but it will cease to be filled, when Eliza goes out that door and joins Lena in not being here.
Scottie bursts through the door, his arms longer with strained green plastic bags pulling them to the floor, telling the dog she’s the center of the universe. Regales me with stories of clients who love him too much and want to make him soup when he needs to work. He imitates them in Charlie Brown adult voices: Mwah mwah-mwah mwah mwah. Teaches me a word he says I already know, spalled. The bricks were spalled, disintegrated.
We seem to get along okay without the kids.