Image: Sarah C, Creative Commons
SHE MAKES MUFFINS and pancakes, boys read at kitchen table. Cat suns herself by patio door. Mush, mush, she mixes ingredients in stainless steel mixing bowl, green plastic mixing bowl to her right. She reads recipe on top of microwave. Grabs some things out of fridge, crunch crunch, cracks eggs. “Hey—get off!” she says. Cat jumps off kitchen table, rushes into living room.
SHE OPENS almond milk, walks to fridge, pours vanilla into mix. Places bottle on counter. Opens, closes drawers, pours oil into bowl. Shuffle, shuffle, tap, clangs cutlery, assembles mixer. Plugs into outlet. Mixer whirs, blends eggs, flour, sugar, she spins bowl. Bang, bang, slops excess off mixer arms. She licks batter off them, wipes with her fingers, places them in mouth, puts them in sink, turns on water, more clanging banging, pans on the stove, she turns stove on, sprays pans with canola oil, opens more drawers.
BOYS READ, older's left hand on forehead, younger's left hand on forehead, matching housecoats, fuzzy red with black-maybe-dark-blue hockey players, black-blue, hard to tell, older's feet getting bigger, their hair is getting long, time for haircut. “How long 'til breakfast?” younger asks. “I don't know, half an hour,” she says. “Can I play video games, then?” he asks. “I suppose,” she says.” “J—come...” younger says. Older laughs. Younger goes to couch, turns on tablet. Older mimicks younger, teasing, but in a nice way: “J—come...” Older sits on couch, turns on phone.
BOYS STARE at vids, at screens, light filters through family room window, younger with feet on couch, knees up, blue pyjama pants, “TouchDOWN” emblazoned on them, “Touch” in blue slanted letters, “DOWN” red, all caps. “Don't leak any of them,” older says. “You can only use five elixirs.” “Clash Royale?” I ask. “Ya,” older says. Younger says something unintelligible, he made a good move on his game.
SHE MIXES some stuff in green plastic bowl. More taps, eggs crack, pancakes on the grill. Applesauce in muffin mix keeps it moist, less oil needed. Stir, stir, stir, fork in white bowl, stir, stir, stir. She clears her throat, water drips down drain, clocks tick, sounds of the kitchen, sounds of the family room, sounds of Saturday morning, sounds of the weekend.
THE MORNING is quiet, the morning is beautiful, no soccer this morning, everything is closed, nowhere to go, no places to be, no tournaments to attend, no travel, just rest, just togetherness, just family, just home, just peace, just beauty. “Two wins in a war,” younger says.
SHE SETS oven timer, opens oven door. She wipes her brow, my beautiful wife, my beautiful children, my beautiful family, a beautiful day, life is beautiful, life is mundane, life is messy, life is contradictions, life is on pause.
I SMELL the pancakes, smell the muffins, smell the love, it bypasses my frontal lobe straight to my limbic brain. That's oxytocin, that's dopamine, that's reward and I wonder am I simply a collection of biological algorithms?
SHE SAYS, “Pancakes are ready, I'm just gettin' the muffins ready here, so, anytime really, gentlemen...”
Just another Saturday in isolation.