5:10pm on Thursday and the sun is still visible just over the neighbor’s roof. The neighbor who I know by his face and silhouette, but not by name. Is it Mr. White? (or is that the name of our old mail carrier?)
The dog clandestinely has found his way onto the couch, surreptitiously curling up next to me. A moment of weakness for me and a flash of opportunity for him. But the kids are not home and the main reason he can’t be on the couch is because he still, after eight years on this planet, does not remember that they are not his littermates.
The children are at a friend’s house, forgoing a movie in a Real Live Movie Theater for the first time in almost two years for the comfortable, predictable chaos of four homeschoolers running amok…safely amok (is that an oxymoron?), but amok nonetheless. I know, because when they are here, it is the same. (And the dog is definitely not allowed on the furniture then!)
The eldest child–although he no longer fits that label–has just texted that he is leaving the skatepark and heading to his girlfriend’s house for a few hours. It was not a request for permission; this is a shift that we are all getting to know in this new world of sixteen.
My husband and I discuss our dinner options, wanting to want to try dining in at a restaurant for the first time in almost two years, but (like the kids) opting for upscale, overpriced takeout that eliminates the potential discomfort of being out in the real world. We order, talk a bit about our days, trying desperately to tune in to the other’s lived experiences that are so foreign to our own, and then he leaves to retrieve the goods.
I contemplate writing, but choose first to finish my transformation from school to home: taking out my contacts, putting away my jewelry, snuggling into my sweats and slippers.
As the hour pushes 6pm, I notice that the neighbor’s house now sits against the pink backdrop of the unimpressive sunset. But even with its minimal fanfare, I spend a bit of time just watching the purples mush into one another, each hue fighting for primacy and each one losing.