My son runs across the room, scoops up his book bag and shoes, while my husband stands waiting in the kitchen. He holds the big, black brief case in his hand, rolls his eyes and we grin tandem over our son’s inability to pick up the pace.
“Can you drop off my shirts at the cleaners today, I don’t think I will have time,” he asks. “And tell them I don’t want any starch,” he adds.
“No starch,” I ask puzzled.
“Yes, I don’t want starch,” he confirms.
Since our matrimonial union twenty-one years ago, his work shirts hold starch. Until today.
“Okay,” I whisper, eyes arched.
When they turn to leave, I grab my son’s arm on his way out the door to the garage, pull him to me for a morning hug and hope you have a good day encouragement. Then rattle off the check- list of things he might have forgotten, including his lunch.
And when I pick him up later that afternoon, he informs me sheepish that he would like me to stop using jelly on his peanut butter sandwiches.
“They make the bread soggy,” he says squeamish.
The same boy who decides a few weeks ago, after eating the same natural peanut butter his entire twelve years of life, that he wants to switch over to Jif with all the “genated” words in the ingredient list. “Because it tastes so much better,” he says.
And when we sit down together for dinner, I serve salmon on plates and my daughter declares it. That she doesn’t really like salmon. Actually, fish in general. She doesn’t like fish. The girl who orders salmon from a menu religiously since she learned how to speak to a waitress on her own, like it’s the only thing her taste buds will tolerate.
I am a stand- by passenger to Change, a window looker into souls that shift constant in longings, preferences, and passions. Watch the mission of Change weave her tapestry into a beautiful picture called life, knots and frayed edges hidden underneath.
Change is often the unexpected houseguest in my daily routine. And when she arrives, my first question begins with why. Why did you come?
No matter what her explanation, it doesn’t really matter does it? She’s here and now I have to decide what to do with her. Where she will stay, how long her presence will affect the comfort of my routine, if I receive her with joy or resentment.
And after my family walks out the door on this morning and the house hums quiet, I open the laundry room door and the smell of dog hits me like a stockbroker on the floor of the exchange.
My dog died on Saturday.
I see the spots on the carpet where he laid, the golden strands of hair stuck to the rug, the drips of foamy drool hardened on the cabinet door, the basket of bandanas in the pantry he donned home from the groomer. And when I see the bowl of food – his last supper- lying in the garage sink it is the final straw to break the tear dam.
Because grief lies in the stream of endless looking back and wishing. Whispering why and never hearing an answer.
Today, I look forward, attend to Change, my houseguest. I’ve decided to tuck her in to the room with the fluffy pillows and the hyacinth in the window that wafts air sweet. We watch birds dangling from the feeder together and talk about tomorrow.
She points out Hope travelling to my place on the horizon. I knew that Hope was coming, unlike Change. She walks slow and steady, placing her feet in the imprint Change left behind. Confidence is in her backpack. And I can’t wait to hear her stories when change leaves.
What will you do when Change comes to your place for a visit?