These days,when I pick the kids up or drop them off, Ren tends to have a bag of my junk, as he calls it, to hand over. There was no way I could locate everything that was "mine" when I was packing, so that doesn't surprise me. Sometimes there are nice surprises, long lost treasures that were carefully put away. He handed me a gigantic Christmas bag on my birthday this year, and the kids were convinced that it was a birthday gift that Daddy had gotten for them to give to me, and I felt bad when I opened the bag, with a bit of a flourish, only to show them some second-hand books I'd bought in university - Ben Johnson and Ernest Hemingway and Henry James. The last bag he gave me had a gift I'd given him to commemorate our first Christmas in our new house, a tiny gold-framed copy of Thomas Kinkade's "Home Sweet Home", originally sitting on a matching easel, which did not come back to me. The glass was cracked. What a lovely metaphor.
Last week I had asked to
borrow a waffle iron that we'd gotten as a wedding gift. I used to make
waffles all the time for the kids, same as I used to bake with them all
the time. I took some of that gear with me, and left some, which I
replaced for myself. The waffle iron was one thing I figured they'd
use, but when I took it out of the bag, it had a thick film of dust on
it. I couldn't find the recipe for yeast raised waffles, so I got one
off All-Recipes, which was a little more elastic than the one I used to
use. I'll have to find that one again. It made me kind of sad, after
the kids whooped at the sight of waffles and the different ways they
like to dress them - syrup, chocolate chips, raspberry jam, honey,
Nutella, mango slices - having to wipe it clean and put it back in the
bag to take back to him.
He shrugged when I handed it to him at
dropoff. You might as well keep it. I never used it after you left.
Or before you left, when it comes right down to it. It was never really
the kind of thing I'd think about wanting,or using. That was weird to
me. Did I just imagine all the times we sat down, as a family, to
fresh, piping hot waffles, redolent of vanilla? Did I just imagine he'd
enjoyed it as much as the rest of us did?
Today would have been our eighteenth wedding anniversary.
What a lovely metaphor.