Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Norms: A Short Story

It was a quiet night. The full moon cast mysterious shadows across the empty streets.

A woman lay next to her husband, her eyes gazing into the swirling darkness above her. Slowly she pulled the covers back, put on her robe, wondered into the hallway and followed the stair railing down into the kitchen. With a long sigh, the woman light a few candles and took out several bowls, flour, eggs, and butter.  

The husband upstair slept soundly and loudly. He took a deep breath in of cinnamon and opened his eyes. He quickly pulled the covers back, put on his robe, and followed the smell down to the kitchen. The wife poured him a couple fingers of scotch to help him go back to sleep as they sat in the candlelight.

Instead of getting him tired, it only brought to memory the dream he had that night. He remembered that he was in the wings on a theatre being dressed and made up to go on stage, though he had no idea what play this was. He kept asking and the lady of his dream would only say, 'you'll be ok, you'll be ok'. She then gave him a little push and just as he walked out on stage he woke up to the smell of the exact same cookies his mother used to make. He went on to tell about how his mother would make these cookies year after year and he couldn't recall a time when he had ever thanked her. He thought back, back, and he couldn't remember a single time when he had.

They sat down in the kitchen while the second batch of cookies baked. The wife said she had similar dreams to this. She was supposed to go out and sing in Church but had no idea what song. She was walking down the isles of the Church, perspiring, though people around her said, 'it'll be ok, it'll be ok'. Just as someone said, 'it will come to you', she woke up.

The husband and wife became to wonder if these dreams of terror and uncertainty had a meaning. They wondered together about their children who had all moved away, if they were just fine. As empty nesters in the 50s, they were now living just the two of them. No, they thought, their children were ok. All happy, healthy, and successful in their own endeavors. Though, as new parents they were recall being terrified of not knowing what to do with the small infant, or the teenager, or the college bound young adult. In fact, sometime now they even wonder what to do as empty nesters.

They realized then, all the new norms they had overcome over the years: moving, job hopping, children, etc. Along the way they worried about the next steps, and yet somehow they made it through ok.

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