The dishwasher hums noisily in the kitchen, as it does every night about this time, the tired old motor complaining as it grinds itself into action once again. Every night as I flip the lever, I wonder if this will be the night it gives up the ghost once and for all, forcing me to make the long procrastinated trip to Sears and shell out another $500 I don't have. Luckily tonight, the old Kenmore mustered it up one more time, because I don't think I could have handled anything else going wrong today.
I retreat to this room, this spot, every evening about this time, the time when dinner has been done, the leftovers (we always have leftovers now that Brian is gone) stashed in neat little plastic bowls, the counters sprayed with Cinch cleaner and wiped free of all lingering bacteria. Inhaling the vibrant aroma of the mint green tea I like to drink after dinner, feeling the tangy spearmint leaves tingle against the membranes of my nose, I perch on the edge of the big black leather desk chair I splurged on a couple of years ago when I started working at home. I don't know why I never manage to sit back in the chair, always straining my already aching back as I reach toward the keyboard of the laptop. There's a reason they call these laptops, I think, wondering why I don't just unplug the thing and hold it on my lap, which would be so much more comfortable. But, I don't - I continue to sit rigidily on the chair as my hand hovers over the ever powerful little mouse, waiting patiently to bring my electronic world to life.
If I really stop to listen, I'm surprised by all the noises I hear in this room, the place that's supposed to be my "haven" from the goings on in the rest of the house. But this house, this two bedroom ranch, was not meant to provide quiet havens for any of its occupants. And now is certainly no exception. There is always the noise of whatever the television is playing ~ tonight it's gospel music from the Gaither Brothers Quartet, of all things. Sometimes it's auto racing, or James Bond, or the Terminator, something with horrendous sounds of people smashing their fists into the faces of other people, or crashing their cars into buildings. Whatever it is, and here again tonight is no exception, it makes me want to scream. I can feel my stomach twist into a little knot with the unexpressed anger at the assault on my senses. Why don't I say anything, you ask? Probably for the same reason I sit awkwardly in my chair rather than arranging myself in a more comfortable position~ too much bother.
So, here in my retreat, I have the growling hum of the dishwasher, the strains of some song with lyrics like "love America or die" in very broad four part harmony, the clatter and click of my fingers on the keys, and ~ wait, one more~ is that the skittering of tiny mouse feet in the attic? I believe it is.
No matter. The glow of the bulb in my tensor desk lamp is warm and inviting, the mint tea soothes the angry knot in my belly, while the cup that holds it~a handle-less little Japanese tea cup I bought in Disneyworld~warms my icy hands. This has become my habit of an evening, to linger here until bedtime, reading the words of my "friends" around the world, writing a little of my own now and then, perhaps curling up in the soft, overstuffed armchair to read a book for a while. Usually, the dogs will join me, and add their own little noises to the undercurrent~gentle licking of their lips, a tiny snore, an occasional warning growl from Magic if he's not in the mood for Molly's cuddling.
The evenings pass here, time passes with them. The dishwasher grinds to a halt and finishes it's work in heated silence. And I sit silently too, letting the cares of the day disappear into cyberspace, the noise of a busy world drifting away.
Written in response to a prompt entitled "Create A Written Snapshot," from Pen On Fire, by Barbara DeMarco Barrett