i’m typing. my son is across from me in the burgundy “old people-style” armchair, reading. you would look at me and think that i am nervously tapping my foot, but what i’m actually doing is bumping my foot into the dog, basically kicking her. now, i’m not kicking her out of anger, she likes it. it’s attention, and if there is one thing this orange beast likes, it’s attention. she keeps moving her body around so that i knock into where she wants. when my leg becomes tired, she tries to give me her paw to make sure i don’t stop jostling my foot up and down, as if this a bribe to sweeten the deal. the hound-y black dog is happily hiding under the comforter at my son’s feet, and you wouldn’t know she was there except for her loud snoring.
my son looks up from his book and asks me questions about cooking and how i prepared the meatloaf we are having for dinner. i’m proud that he has taken an interest in cooking, something that i never expected to happen, and now encourage and nurture every chance i get. we joke and laugh, in our usual way, trying to one up each other with insults, but knowing that we really do enjoy each other’s company.
the sun is quickly leaving us for another day, and the moon is pushing its way back up through the sky. the snow covered yard is still brilliant white, almost glowing, untouched by boots or pets. i contemplate the effort it would take to build a snowman.
“it’s dark as hell in here”, my son announces.
“then turn on the lamps, Einstein,” i respond.
he switches on the lights, disrupting the hidden dog at his feet, but the lamps do little more than turn the room a deep burnt orange. my mind wanders and i stare again out the window at the snow, thinking how happy i am to be cozy in my jammies. i think to myself that there are few things better than meatloaf, a warm home with lots of puffy blankets, a kid that loves you and two quiet (although cranky) dogs. i smile and my son grimaces playfully, sneering at my unspoken sentiment, yet wordlessly agreeing. i wish for Lucas to be here and out of the cold machine shop where he’ll be for another seven and a half hours. i wish he was home. i sip my hot tea, blood orange zinging my lips and feel extremely blessed; missing only Lucas.
it is full dark out now. the street is extra quiet as if the bitter cold has consumed the barky dogs, chirping children and rumbling scraping snow shovels. most pittsburghers are probably home now, making their own meatloaves and drinking tea, warm and cozy
glad for another January day marked off the calendar. families are chattering about, laying in front of the tv, reading the paper, doing their nightly routines, cluelessly unaware that my family isn’t all together and that Lucas still has seven hours left in a noisy machine shop.
the night moves slowly on, and still, hours to go, and the same quiet neighborhood, perfect glistening yard, still no Lucas, and still, no snowman.