The sun descends imperceptibly. We finish our dinner and walk into the evening light. Our children place their tiny hands in ours. They migrate to our hips and our shoulders. We make our way down the sidewalk. We stop for a moment then wade through the flowers and fountains of a park. It juts into the clutter of traffic. Stillness swallows the rapid mongrel of the day’s activity.
Our conversation slows. The breeze journeys the nodding leaves. The light of the sun bronzes the horizon. Summer’s oppressive heat tucks itself in a memory that is folded, shelved, and forgotten. I lift my bare foot from my shoe and run it through the green, cool grass. My daughter leans her head on my knee and hugs my leg, watching the fireflies flicker. I tuck her hair behind her ear, marveling at the miracle that she is. Everything that has to be done can wait in line quietly behind the nectar of the evening.
We say goodbye. Our friends gather inside their van, organize, and drive away. Their children, I am sure, were asleep in their car seats before they could reach the interstate that would channel them home.
The door closes behind us. Time for bath. Pajamas. The sun is lost behind the trees and turns away, unsheathing the stars that glisten in the window as we read a bedtime story. My daughter drifts into the sacred sleep that I once tried to memorize but that I now know is forever sealed in me without effort.
The dog drowses on the carpet. He stretches his paws and yawns. The floor moans and creaks as my wife and I wander our home, tidying. The tiny shoes in the corner lay in their laces. My wife crawls into bed. Her hair pours over the pillow. Her shoulders are wrapped in the nestled warmth of the comforter. Another life is growing inside her. The washer stops spinning. Minutes later, the dryer hum ceases.
A candle flame shimmers in the kitchen and reflects off the glass of a near window. I am sitting at this table in our home.