It's late and I should be in bed but I've been reading other people's blogs, some so beautiful it amazes me. Some with photo's of things I would walk right by, not seeing the gift. Some funny, some thoughful. I wish I could give back to the world like these blogs do. I wish I had something profound to say. But, it's late and I am not profound, I am fuzzy headed from this head cold and worn to a frayed stump from the constant cough. I need to crawl into the waiting bed, which will warm and snuggle me in the room with the winter breath from the open window. So, here is a story I wrote for my Personal History group. I've belonged for a year now and have probably and even fifty stories written. I thought I had a bad memory, I was wrong. I am grateful.
THE TOILET FLUSHED
It was late. We were in the family room but on our way to bed when we heard the toilet flush.
The sense of foreboding settled like ash after a volcanic eruption. “The toilet flushed!” we whispered in unison.
Trent’s arm hairs stood like quills on a startled porcupine. One long leg stepped out and the next thing I knew he was in the bathroom. I heard the door lock.
Taylor, not to be outdone for speed, plastered himself against the basement door, arms flat, fingers splayed. He sucked all unnecessary mass from his body, becoming one with the door. He looked like a Bobble-head cartoon.
I was left. A lone woman to face my garment clad husband who suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs.
“Where are the boys?” he said.
“Um, I’m not sure,” I was careful not to look at the ashen-faced twelve-year-old who was inches away. “One of them might be in the bathroom.”
“What have you been doing?”
“Nothing? It’s 2:00 am and you have kept the boys up, doing nothing?”
I never kept the boys up. Trent, at age sixteen always had something interesting to say, thereby keeping me up. I often told him, “Quit being interesting. I need to go to bed.” That encouraged him to say more interesting things. Taylor was a twelve-year-old willing participant; two interesting boys were too much temptation.
“Well?” he said.
His nostrils flared. Too late I realized shrugging implied casual indifference.
“I suggest you find them and then I suggest you get them in bed. Now,” he said. His words were slow, crisp.
“And you need to get in bed too.”
I nodded again. “I know.”
“I know you know. Just do it.”
He rubbed one hand over his face, tired. Tired of having a wife who was always up late. Tired of trying to deal with uncommunicative teen-age boys. Tired of being the disciplinarian. Just plain tired.
“I’ll find the boys and get them to bed,” I said in a semi-whisper.
“Thank you.” He sighed, “and please, just come to bed.”
A slight smile came and went so quick I thought I imagined it. He nodded and then was gone. The stairs creaked, the bedroom door clicked shut.
Taylor’s indrawn breath sounded like a dozen cans of soda opening at once. His head looked regular size again as his body pinked and plumped to normal proportions.
Trent peered around the corner on a telescoping neck, then glided in. We stood in reverenced silence.
And then it happened. Someone snorted.
When disaster is averted, laughter—or a changing of the underwear—usually follows. That night it was laughter.
“Come on, boys, let’s get to bed,” I said when I could finally breathe. I put my arms around them and they came willingly. There was a feeling of peace and goodwill in the house.To this day, the words, “The toilet flushed,” bring panic, followed by euphoria. And laughter. Always there is laughter.