Speedy drove the girls back to the condo late last night. The third term of the school year officially begins tomorrow, January 4, and the girls were supposed to spend today clearing up their class schedules and finalizing their enrollment.
As I watched the pick-up pull away from the front door, a wave of sadness hit me. We had so much fun during the Christmas break and I’ll miss them terribly. But, in a split second, a feeling of tremendous relief pushed the sadness away. I won’t have to constantly remind them to please not leave dirty glasses and bowls and plates on the living room coffee table. I won’t have to repeat over and over that half-eaten bags of chips lying around are magnet to ants. With the torrent and video streaming addicts gone, the internet is suddenly fast. I can watch my choice of TV programs once again and not have to bear the inexhaustible reserve of The Powerpuff Girls reruns.
It’s a bittersweet feeling, this endless stream of homecomings and goodbyes. I still keep wishing that there was more constancy in our lives, that we could just all live together in one house seven days a week instead of having to deal with the adjustments — physical, mental and emotional — each time they leave and each time they come home. How can I describe it? Each time you start coming to terms with not having them around and not feel like crying about the separation anymore, they’re suddenly home. Then, just when you feel so happy to be with them, they have to leave again. It’s a horrible and cruel roller coaster ride that never ends.
When Speedy and I were having lunch earlier (leftovers from last night’s roast chicken), I suddenly remembered the Japanese rolls in the fridge. Before they left last night, Sam made a huge batch of maki, packed most to bring to the condo but left enough behind for Speedy and me. I opened the fridge, located the round white Tupperware with the light green lid, and Speedy and I pushed aside the leftover chicken to enjoy the spicy rolls. They were wonderful. Sam announced last night that she used wasabi, cayenne pepper and chili powder to season the rolls. There was some parsley too. Definitely not traditional Japanese but also definitely delicious.
The thing is, even the act of eating the maki was a bittersweet experience. Every bite tasted of Sam’s laughter as she rolled and cut the maki last night. But each bite was also a reminder of how much mess she left in the kitchen. It was already very late, way past midnight and I didn’t want to delay them even more by insisting that she wash and clean everything before going back to the condo. So, I cleaned up without grumbling but still feeling that there was something unfair about the whole thing.
Speedy and I were talking about it afterward — this thing about the mess. It’s a phase, I know. I wasn’t a neat-as-a-pin kind of girl and, when I met him, the state of Speedy’s bedroom at his parent’s house didn’t look very much different from the chaotic state of the girls’ condo. In fact, the girls’ bedrooms here at home look better than Speedy’s old bedroom some twenty years ago. So, I know it’s a phase — this abhorrence toward cleaning and organizing. I just wish, for the sake of us all, that the girls would get over the phase sooner than Speedy and I managed to.
So, I look forward to the weekend again even if it means there will be more cleaning up to do. I look forward to what Sam and Alex will experiment with in the kitchen. Maybe, the glorious coffee jelly that we had a week or so ago. I look forward to the book titles that Alex will share and the movies that they will introduce us to and watch with us.
It’s kind of insane, really. Sam has been living away on weekdays for two and a half years; Alex, for a year and a half… and I still feel like shit every time their father drives them back to the condo. And I still feel like a girl excited over the visit of a favored suitor every time they’re scheduled to arrive — prepping the house, cooking their favorite dishes and hoping that our together time would go without foul moods. It’s an effing crazy roller coaster life.