Three steps from the bottom of the staircase, I sat down to play with my doll. This vantage point gave me full view of the living room, the hallway leading to the back door and the kitchen. The phone rang. Mom picked up the receiver and said, “Hello?” After listening for a few seconds, she said, “I thought about you this morning, Katie. How are you feeling today? I hope you’re getting over your cold.” Clamping the doll upside down between my knees, I began threading the baby doll’s legs into a pair of under pants.
While jamming white plastic shoes on the baby’s pink plastic feet, I heard Mom brag to her friend, “Three blossoms opened up on my hibiscus today. You should see them! They’re each big enough to fully cover a coffee cup saucer.”
Mom loved plants. In the summer, every flowerbed around the house had dozens of flowers, each fighting for elbow room to blossom. Now, during the winter, she had plants near almost every window. The hibiscus was a big plant, almost as tall as me. It had a small brown trunk like a tree and big, double pink blossoms. Leaning forward, I peeked into the kitchen. The small tree stood in the far corner between two windows. Continue reading
The quiet of the house lulled me into peaceful meditation as I worked a needle craft. In the background was the steady hum of the basement dehumidifier. Few cars roared past the house because most people were home by this time of the evening. Without warning, a loud crash came from the entryway. Startled, I put down the yarn and slipped to the edge of the sofa.
“What made that sound?” I wondered. I had become an expert at noticing and identifying household sounds since my husband passed away 12 years ago. This sound wasn’t the well pump over working, it wasn’t a loose fan belt on the furnace, nor a malfunctioning washing machine. Was someone trying to break in?
I had never noticed household sounds when Arnie was alive. He was with me to take care of those things. Even if an intruder were to break in, I knew he was there to protect me. That all changed the first night after he was gone. I had suddenly realized with horror that I was now responsible for everything in my home.
Quietly, I crept through the dining room and peeked into the entryway. My older cat was catloafed on the rug, his paws tucked in and tail tight alongside his body. The younger cat sat upright on the desk. He turned to look at me with large, round, crazed eyes. What was wrong with the cat? Continue reading