By Lesley Bolton
Eyes roam the kitchen through slits. There is something very important in here, something magical. But what is it? Daughter’s voice cuts through the gray: “Mom, I can’t find my shoes!”
I sigh and raise an imaginary mug to my lips. Coffee! My love, how could I forget you?
I scan the kitchen again, this time with purpose. My shoulders slump as my brain fails to recognize a mug anywhere. I get the half-and-half out of the refrigerator since I’m standing next to it. Efficiency.
“Daughter, where is my coffee?” I must have set it down somewhere.
“Where are my shoes?”
Right, the shoes. Why is there a banana peel on the stairs?
“Daughter, throw away the banana peel.” Are bananas safe for dogs? Note: Google that.
“What banana peel? I’m trying to find my shoes.”
Sigh. I pick up the banana peel, head back to the kitchen, and throw it in the compost pail. Now, what was I doing?
“Mooooom! Can I just go to school without shoes? Besides, I’m a Gila monster, and they don’t wear shoes.”
Right, the shoes. “Did you look in your room?”
“I’m in my room.”
That doesn’t mean you looked.
What is that smell? The compost pail sits on the counter sans lid. It is full. I pick it up and move toward the door. I kick Daughter’s shoes out of the way and spot the half-and-half on the stairs. The shoes!
“Daughter, your shoes are down here!”
“Oh! So that’s where I left them.”
Daughter bounds down the stairs and trips over half-and-half. Lunging to catch her, I fall and fail. She falls and hits her knee, hard. Tears.
Half-and-half seeps into the carpet on the stairs. The dog has her head in the compost pail.
I pull the coffee pot out with the familiar and comforting clunk of glass against plastic. Something’s different though, a flaw in the routine. I look from the pot in my hand to the empty outlet and sigh. Defeated. There’s always tomorrow.
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