Power is out.
I sat in front of the aquatic center yesterday evening waiting to retrieve our daughter from swim practice when I received this text from my husband. The sun was setting and the temperature was dropping — it was down to 36℉ (2℃) at sunset — and my first thought after thinking, well damn, there go my dinner plans, was Oooh! My new Kobo is fully charged and I’ll be able to read without electricity!
We arrived after practice to a dark home lit with candles. My husband met us at the side door with a flashlight. Upstairs, I put the about-to-be-twice-baked potatoes I assembled into the fridge, and the four of us sat in the flickering light discussing dinner plans while Brian strummed his guitar by candlelight.
As we drove away from the house, he said, “I hope we don’t come home to catcicles!” The image of little frozen kitties made our daughter and me feel very sad. “They’ll get under our comforter if they get cold,” I told her (and myself).
We killed about an hour and a half by going out to eat. It was barely 8pm when we got in the car to drive home.
“I’m just going to bed when we get home,” said our daughter. She’s often in bed by 8 o’clock anyway on the nights before 5:30am swim practice.
Our son, on the other hand, is a night owl. I don’t think 3am is an unusual bedtime for him. “Lucky,” he said. The liklihood of him being able to fall asleep at 8 o’clock was very low.
“Is the power on yet, Mom?” he asked me. I checked for texts from the power company. Nope.
Personally, I was a little bit giddy. It was my day off and I had just started a new book, Olive, Again, on my brand new Kobo e-reader. The Kobo was working out even better than I’d hoped — I was able to check out the book directly from the library on my device — and I set the font size, line spacing, and margins exactly to my liking.
“I’ve got a self-lit book and a down comforter. I’m all set for the night,” I said. An excuse to get in bed at 8pm and read!
“I laid a fire in the fireplace,” said my husband. “It’s pretty depressing to just all go home and get in bed in a cold dark house.”
Our daughter went straight to bed, as she said she would, but our son lay down on the shag rug, under a blanket, in front of the crackling fire. He lay his head, with hair freshly cut that day, on a pillow. My husband lay on the couch under another blanket. The cats immediately piled on top of him. I pulled up a pillow next to our son and leaned against the hearth with my book. The fire warmed the top and back of my head like the sun does on a summer day.
“Hey Mom, you want to rub my head and see how great my haircut feels?”
I like to be shown affection through hugs; he likes to be shown affection through head rubs.
“I do,” I said.
I petted his head while I read my book in the dark by the fire. His new haircut did feel good. His hair was soft between my fingers. I looked up at my husband snuggled with the cats on the couch, lit by fire and candlelight, and turned pages in my book with a tap of my thumb while I lay next to my son by a warm fire and ran my fingers through his freshly cut hair. The house was quiet except for the fire’s hisses and pops, and soon, before the clock changed to 9pm, I heard my son’s breathing change to the breath of sleep.