I was out after dinner, on a rare nighttime errand. Even rarer, my gas tank was running on fumes (Clay usually fills my gas tank for me – and I don’t care if women all over the world object, I think it’s only meet and right). I stopped for a few gallons, stamping and muttering in the cold. The night was foggy, an unusual thing around here. I climbed back into the van and nosed my way out onto the misty cold street.
I flexed cold fingers on the steering wheel and punched the buttons on the radio, searching for a welcome voice. As I did, I heard a beep from my purse. Somehow I never hear my cell phone ring, but I do catch the “message waiting” alert. I fished the phone out and dialed in to hear the messages.
“Hi, honey,” Clay’s voice said, “I was just wondering – how long did you want me to cook this chicken? Love you.”
In the background I heard a tumble of the boys’ voices. They were playing a board game, and I could hear the arguing about whose turn it is. Raphael called out, “Tell Mem she’s beautiful!” As he hung up the phone I heard Clay start to respond, “Ok, guys, it was Tre’s turn-“
I listened to it twice. It was just a moment, a snippet of an evening spent huddled around the kitchen table, surrounded by the smell of chicken stock simmering on the stove and the din of boys playing.
Suddenly the van seemed much warmer.