I'm home alone. The laundry is done. The dishes are done. Every room in the house is neat and tidy. The mail is organized. What about the fridge did I clean that out after my vacation? Yes, that is done too. And dinner has been served, an oregano seasoned salmon paired with roasted tomatoes, onions and garnished with feta. Everything is done and the house is still. The only sounds that filter throughout it are that of the olive oil popping in the frying pan, the lightening of a summer storm in the distance and a faint whisper telling me to pick up the onion I dropped on the floor. I'm home alone and I miss her. Usually I love the freedom and quietness of a night with the house to myself. I used to urge my roommates to go run errands and leave me behind in the house alone. If it were for 15 minutes or for the entire evening I didn't mind, there was just something about having the walls and the happenings of one house all to myself that I adored. It is a moment to breath, it is a moment to walk throughout the halls aimlessly, a moment to turn up whatever music you please, but most important it is a moment to listen. Whether you listen to your own thoughts, the meaningful lyrics of a song or someone's voice in your head, the motionless ambiance of an empty house makes you listen.
"Missy, I saw you drop that onion behind the counter, " she whispers in my head, and I see her twirl her hand in a circular motion to pinpoint the exact area where it landed.
"Don't cry my love, and please get some rest, everything will be better in the morning," she comforts me as I shuffle through her closet to put away her dry cleaning as if she had work on Monday.
She is here, she is everywhere and I listen.
Yet still, the house whether it is empty or full is not a home without her. I used to like being home alone. That was before she left. That was before she left her home to me. And all those times before I wished for one moment that I would have the house to myself, so I could bake cookies, spread flour everywhere and leave the dishes for tomorrow...if I wanted to. Or take a bath for an hour, sit on the patio for another hour and well maybe lay in the grass for another... if I wanted to. All those times that I wished to be home alone to wander around carelessly, and yet I don't lay in grass or leave the dishes in the sink. No, instead I do exactly what she did when she was home alone, I prepare the house for everyone to come home. With beds freshly made, aromas of a perfectly marinated steak on the grill, the fire lit in the winter and the windows open in summer. Not because she did it or because I feel like I have to. I do it because this is when I feel closet to her. This is when I hear her wisdom, this is when I feel her flawless hands resting on my shoulder. This is when I can really be alone with her and just listen. So I guess when I am home alone, I never really am.
Tonight I made too much food, probably because I am used to cooking for five boys, my dad, my brothers and of course their posse. While most of the time I slap at their hands when they try to pick at the salad or the cookie dough, I miss the craziness of the kitchen when they are gone, even if it's just for a night. So on nights like this, when I am home alone, I cook for two. My mother and I.