And in a minute it’s quiet. One went up to her room. The other took the baby outside. And with them, went that dog, and my husband. One is still at work. And, no one seems to know where the recycling bags are kept or how to open a dishwasher. I practice my breathing. Breath – I am breathing in – my mind knows the drill.
Sitting at the kitchen table facing the window, my back to the mess. The late afternoon sun filtering through the trees, they seem to have grown into a jungle from the rain, and just enough of a breeze to present the squirrels a more unreliable trapeze. I must remember to cut the lilac husks off the tree this weekend. Six years, it should have been much bigger, must have bought a dwarf, pretty though. Two white iron chairs angled in conversation at the back of the garden. I took the backrest out when we adopted them from the kitchen of the elderly couple advertising on Kijiji. The pink Swiss dots definitely cramped the style carried off by their charming curvy legs.
I feel the mess glaring at me. The box and cellophane of the organic date and lemon crackers, a plastic wrapper peeled off like a stocking from the cheese, the pile of recycling that didn’t make it to the curb this morning. The foil tin from the Ratatouille that I brought home yesterday so the girls would have something to eat, of which she said, “That was a good movie, remember it Mom?” “Yes, it had the mouse.” I think I have mice.
The white mug on the counter, half full, with the string and tag of the tea bag wound around the handle; the tell tale sign. Her signature. I know who left that cup advocating Paris is always a good idea stacked in lines of cursive. Let’s run away. The curvy legs of two chairs sitting across a round table that’s just big enough for our elbows, small strong cups of coffee, and one plate with pain au chocolat that I try to order with a French accent. Remember the flower shop we found? Jacqulines and you took a photograph of me after I had gathered an armful of lilies, roses and peonies. Like a corny film.
Details of the mundane become relevant in the light of something we cannot control. Last week I was immersed in a writing workshop at UFT. Each night we were to write and send a piece around to the class by 7:00 pm so we would have a chance to read the work for critique the next morning. I wrote the above on Thursday July 14th after school, and pressed send. Then, Lorne and I got in the car to go grocery shopping. We turned on the news, and heard about Nice.
I had just written the words; Paris is always a good idea. It hit me hard. Just minutes ago I was escaping the minutiae, imagining being in Paris, one of the world’s most iconic romantic fantasies. Just moments ago families were strolling along a beautiful street, enjoying the end of a day of celebration. And, then. Life changes. Irreparably. In a moment. And, we cling, to all the silly, irrelevant, lovely annoyances of our lives.