Monday, June 21, 2010
i love doing dishes. there is no time pressure, the water is warm and comforting, there is usually a window to gaze out of - maybe you hear the chatter of your friends as they settle into the living room - some with books and feet tucked beneath them - others cocooned in afghans on the floor- the movement of my hands under the water, the confused muted sounds, the retrieval, the scrub down, the inspection, the rinse off, the air dry, the towel dry, the put away, the opening and closing of cupboards. tonight my mind returned to those other kitchens, those different sinks, those temporary homes - where i stood beside my brother or my sister, where we stood shoulder to shoulder and fought over who got to wash and who would be demoted to drying - where we gazed out the window to mt. baker, careless chatter, towel whipping wars and sud-beards aplenty. or when i stood across from my oma, we were using a green basin, outside their camper, beside a great lake, sand still between my toes, we were talking - she was asking me questions about my six year old life and i was no doubt happy to oblige. i was perched on the picnic table next to the basin as she gave me the run down on how to dry cups the quickest -insert your tiny fist into the center of the cup with the towel wrapped around it, twist once, twist again, encircle the excess dish towel around the outside of the cup. so simple. it was genius information to my six year old brain. i still think of her when i dry cups and am not too distracted. it is beautiful to envision that scene of us surrounded by red and white checkered table clothe, the sun fading, the ocean noises - my opa still strong and most likely chopping firewood, or talking with my parents, or snoring in the camper - wherever he was, it doesn't matter, he was alive. memories come flooding in at the strangest time, and as i stood there with the dish towel over my shoulder, leaning against the counter with nothing but the house humming all around me, my eyes were stinging and overflowing with missing and loving my family. and being small enough to sit on my oma's lap where she could put her arms around me, and it was easy to know she loved me, there was no doubt back then, because there was no question. and now we are older and live in different cities, on opposite oceans and we don't occupy the same space for longer than a few weeks a year and, well, that just makes my heart ache sometimes.