Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do You Love Me Enough? 1

Mac and Jill had sat like this countless times in their marriage. At the end of the work day they had always enjoyed the time together finding out how their days had run, their achievements, frustrations. Times past had been happier though, more joyful.

Some sixteen years prior to this had been one such afternoon. Mac arrived at their home in Gawler after taking the forty-five minute commute from his school in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. He carefully opened the front door as always because Harrison had the precarious habit of waiting right behind the door for his father to arrive. Harrison, it was recognized, was Daddy’s boy. Jill often joked that the boy even from the early days of mobility could hear the Isuzu Gemini that Mac drove change down gears as it was steered into the neighborhood. Enthusiasm belonged to Harrison as he crawled up behind the door that he knew his dad would soon enter.

Even now as a toddler he still hadn’t figured out it wasn’t safe to stand right behind the door. Mac cautiously opened the door and swept Harrison into his arms. Hugs and kisses. Kind words from Dad. Appreciative kisses on Dad’s cheek. That was the happy routine.

Jill had already had the kettle boiled. She was after all attuned to her younger son’s movements and recognized his shift toward the door. The coffee was hot, made in no time and Mac and Jill took their places in the living room together. Harrison had probably found his older brother by now somewhere in the house.

As they sat and talked Mac realized how much he enjoyed talking with her. Being in a room with twenty-four ten year olds all day wasn’t the same as talking with his wife. Mac liked hearing her talk and tried to remember to ask her how her day was before he shared.

Jill thought at times like this how much she looked forward to his homecoming each day. Perhaps had she been younger and could get away with it she’d toddle to the door like Harrison and wait. It was no fun for her being stuck out in the almost God forsaken place with just her two infant sons all day. It was nice to have an adult to talk to again even if it was about children, eating, and diapers. She’d listen to Mac as he unloaded about his day, too. (KEEP or DELETE or MOVE: There were times Jill would bring it up in conversation at dinner with friends and family that Mac tended to dominate their time together by unloading his emotional baggage he got from work.)

They didn’t realize, even later, who noticed first that the boys were awfully quiet. Jill thought that this was the first time that she’d been able to sit with Mac for longer than five minutes before either of them had to get up to attend to one or both of the boys.

“They’re up to something.” Who said it they couldn’t remember, they were too busy scrambling through the house in search of the boys. On discovering the back door open they then understood that Clay was tall enough to reach a formerly unreachable handle. Jill also understood the heart and gut wrenching sensation when a mother suspects her children may be in danger. Mac figured they’d be playing in the yard somewhere.

Both parents moved toward the gate that led to the front of the house.