It's Saturday night, and I've got a knee injury.
My husband is gone for the weekend. He's at the monastery with his friend GreatLaugh, who just happens to be married to MonkingFriend, the friend who accompanies me when I go on to the monastery. I'm glad he's had this chance for a retreat. He'll come back rested and relaxed, and hopefully, full of patience. He's going to need all the patience he can get because a knee injury does not agree with his wife at all, and she is in a miserable mood.
By the end of the day, my leg hurts, and so I am lying on the couch. Boy in Black, home for the weekend, took sympathy on my knee injury and did some grocery shopping. Shaggy Hair Boy and Blonde Niece are taking groceries out of the bags and putting them away in what seems like a really haphazard fashion. Blonde Niece pauses to ask the crowd: "Do you think jelly is a lipid?" The whole gang has orders to clean the kitchen, but now the counter and floor are filled with bags of food, with frozen cans of juice concentrate rolling about.
Older Neighbor Boy, sitting at the table, begins playing his guitar, a simple chord progression at first. Boy in Black stops unloading the dishwasher and begins drumming on the counter. Blonde Niece, who is pouring noodles into a pot on the stove, swishes her hair to the music.
Boy in Black grabs a pair of drumsticks, and plays them on first the counter, then the table, then the oak chairs, then the bookshelf. Skater Boy, without even looking up at anyone, begins to drums on the table with his hands. Shaggy Hair Boy talks over the music, teasing Blonde Niece about the bindings on her snowboard. With-a-Why goes to the piano and begins playing. By then Boy in Black is leaning over Older Neighbor Boy and is drumming, softly, on the guitar.
They finish the song – or whatever you might call it – and switch immediately into a discussion of Xiaolon Showdown, arguing which monk has the coolest powers. Somehow, cleaning the kitchen gets abandoned in favor of a snack. The boys are eating potato bread dipped in basalmic vinegar. The conversation at the table turns suddenly serious. Blonde Niece talks about the wake she will be going to tomorrow: a sixteen-year-old boy killed in a snowmobiling accident.
With-a-Why climbs onto the couch next to me, cuddling for a moment, and then insists on making me watch the latest YouTube clip that the group has been obessed with: a young man on the piano playing the music from the Mario video. "He's nasty at the end. He plays so fast. It's so sweet." Everyone gathers around me to watch the ending, the pianist's hands just flying across the keys.
Shaggy Hair moves to the piano to start playing "Holding Out for a Hero" from the movie Footloose. With-a-Why, for no apparent reason, decides to throw pencils at him, which results in a mad chase around the house, ending only when Boy in Black tackles With-a-Why. In the midst of the noise and confusion, Blonde Niece and Skater Boy are doing some kind of homework together, muttering stuff about quadriatic equations. They question each other's answers with great tact and politeness: "What? How the fuck did you get that?"
As the night gets later, I remind the kids to gather up everything they need for snowboarding, since they will be leaving early in the morning. With-a-Why comes to snuggle against me and ask, "Can we get the sheet music for those Mario songs?"