She drove under a cloudless sky down highway 101, some distance from the car in front of her. She liked driving far enough behind as not to have her view obstructed. This allowed her to see at least five or six cars ahead. She was in the middle lane and on both sides and to the front and to the rear was a sea of other cars doing exactly the same, slowly driving forward while taking their chances on the south 101 towards San Jose.
She glanced at the time and said out loud “We’ll make it”.
He looked over. Said nothing. Only nodded. Apparently not filled with any worry over a missed flight south as she was.
As they approached the turnoff to the airport she took a deep breath. “There’s something I want to do” she said, then glancing over to the right in his direction she continued “I want to know if it’s alright with you first though”
“What? Am I your father?” his reply was his usual ‘spit in the wind’ style of humor.
“No!” “But, I need to know if it is okay with you to do this”
“I want to rearrange the kitchen, I can’t reach things” She went on to explain how she couldn’t reach some things and that she had finely honed organizational skills and how her friends and family always got her to organize things for them and that she was sure she could make it nicer and more user-friendly. A total of maybe four sentences that was met with his silence. She noticed his breathing had deepened. She stopped talking.
Surely he is contemplating the true meaning of the request. Going over all the ways it could mean something other than what it actually was which is exactly what she said it was. A kitchen being organized so she can use it better now that she was doing most of the cooking and cleaning. And one in which she did not have to stand on her tip toes every time she wanted a bowl for cereal.
“That’s fine” she said “I don’t have to” sure she had really overstepped this time. Stepped on his turf, so to speak.
“Are you planning on doing anything with the countertop?”
“No, just the cabinets so I can easily find things, and reach things” she continued “It’s fine, I don’t have to I just wanted to make it more user-friendly”
“No, that’s fine”
A moment went by in silence then he added “You’re not moving the microwave?” Moving the microwave had already been addressed and discussed and they’d decided to leave it where it was. She told him no that the microwave was perfect where it was. He nodded his okay.
“The only thing I don’t like is open wall plugs. I like them covered by whatever is being plugged into them”
“Really?” she smiled, curious over such an odd preference. She thought of how he was finally opening up and telling her things like this. It made her feel glad. He went on to explain and she smiled at him. The conversation continued of other things both preferred. The conversation was warm. The sharing was welcomed.
She pulled up in front of the airport. A small airport where he could be dropped off out front and she could pull away without much trouble. She held her hand up and gave him an opened then closed fingered good-bye wave. He gathered his bag from the back and walked away without much ado about it. She smiled at his walking away, thinking it was just like him to do it that way. “Maybe next time he’ll tell me why goodbyes are so hard for him.” she said to herself and pulled away.
The next day she began pulling things out of the cupboards and cleaning what she was sure was seven years of grunge from the shelves that apparently had never been wiped down, even after the recent renovation. “David!” she said out loud at one point but just as quickly she smiled then laughed.
What’s to be done with a man like this. Just love him she guessed.
(copyrighted material: An excerpt from “Not Of My Mother’s World” ::: reprint or republish by permission only: contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)