Last night was cool enough for a fire. I usually don’t make fires this early in the season, but a crackling fire adds another presence to the living room that feels strangely empty with so many of my kids and extra kids off at college and grad school.
My husband sat on the floor near the fireplace with his laptop, checking the stock market and baseball scores in between typing emails. I settled down on the couch next to With-a-Why. He’d begun reading the The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one of his required reading texts, but after about 25 pages, he’d abandoned that book in favor of one that his cousin had recommended. Procrastinating reading one book by choosing to read another is a time-honored tradition in this family.
I worked on my laptop, interrupted every few minutes by With-a-Why, who kept showing me cool passages in the book he was reading. (Embracing the Wide Sky by Daniel Tammet.) It was late when we heard a car pull in the driveway.
Boy in Black pushed his way through the front door with a laundry basket full of dirty clothes. “I’ve come to do some wash.” Shaggy Hair Boy grinned as he walked into the kitchen area. “I’ve been gone SUCH a long time.”
“Look how clean the house is,” I said to them. “It’s kind of creepy, isn’t it?”
Yeah, it’s been less than a week since the older kids moved out, but still, it was great to see them. Shaggy Hair Boy took his usual spot on the couch and began telling me about his classes: a philosophy professor who is way cool, a literature class where he’ll be doing a presentation on T.S. Eliot, a psychology course that promised to be interesting.
I let the fire burn down – it was getting late – while Boy in Black talked about his plans for the future. He’s looking at graduate schools with the idea of getting a PhD in physics or math, but really, what he’s passionate about is Ultimate Frisbee. He’s trying to figure out a lifestyle that would let him play Ultimate, set up Ultimate tournaments, coach Ultimate, promote Ultimate, and basically continue his obsession with the sport.
Philosophical Boy came over, and With-a-Why moved onto the floor to start dealing out cards. Shaggy Hair Boy sat down at the piano, and Boy in Black joined him. It was well past midnight before my husband and I went up to bed. I fell asleep to the sound of jazz drifting up the stairs.