Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Domesticity so sweet.

Our housemates didn't come home last night.

We didn't think much of it at the time. They work odd schedules and sometimes they stay out late. But there were no baby cries in the morning, and our-Hero-Charlie-the-Brave's car was still missing.

It was then I started to worry a bit.

"Was it something we said?" I asked.

"Maybe he and Tina have been murdered by Russian spies," TheCSO said. (Charlie is ex-CIA.)

We tried their cell phones and they didn't answer, which isn't unusual. Mid-morning, I tried Charlie's mom's house. He and his mom are really close and I knew she would know. I left a message.

Tonight theCSO had heard from her. Charlie had hurt his foot and he and the baby had slept at his mother's house. Tina had been downstairs. (You may think it's weird that we never actually looked in their apartment for them, but you have to understand that our housemates are not typically quiet people. At all. And their car was gone.)

After dark, theCSO and I walked Rebecca around the neighborhood. (What is it that makes the air smell like raisins on warm nights down at the end of our street?) We held hands and talked about our friends, laughing as the dog kept pulling us along.

Two blocks from home, Charlie's car pulls up next to us.

"Hey guys!"

We walk up to the car and talk for awhile, happy to catch up. No, he hadn't been murdered by spies. And we hadn't said anything wrong either. His foot is better, his wife is tired but was grateful for a night of uninterrupted sleep. He's trying to figure out how to burn a CD from Itunes for his sister tonight. TheCSO leans into the car and describes the process while Charlie asks questions.

They could be two small-town old guys arguing over a transmission. Finally, I tell theCSO to just get in the car and go show Charlie. I'll walk the dog back.

I turn away from the car, but Charlie isn't finished talking to me.

"Wait a sec," he says as theCSO gets in on the passenger's side.

"Yeah?" I turn back around.

"Thanks for checking up on us, that meant a lot"

"No problem," And the car pulls away.

I slowly walk Rebecca back home, smelling raisins in the air and wondering if this is what a family feels like.



Joel Monka said...

I'm not sure if that's what a family feels like- my own family growing up and and until recently was... I hate the word "dysfunctional", and it's not quite apt- let's say "differently functional". But I hope that's what it's like!

James Andrix said...


I smell a nomination, good post.

I think tribes provide a good cushion for when nuclear families break down. Our culture doesn't have much in the way of tribes, and close friendships are the main way people today can reclaim the tribe. The upside is you get to pick your friends, the downside is you have to find them.

My mother insists her cat is Catholic. Is Rebecca Unitarian?