It was as simple as clockwork. Every Saturday.
We would sleep until ten or so, then roll out to the couch and loveseat in the living room, covered with dogs and comforters, and we’d stretch out there, watching tv until our tummies told us to get moving. We’d pile into her Montero sport, bra-less, shoe-less, and still in pjs, and drive thru Chick-Fil-A, making sure to get extra ketchup. We’d drive back to the house, usually plowing through most of our fries before we pulled in the driveway. We found our places again on the couch and loveseat, and pull the glass coffee table up to the furniture to function as a make-shift table.
We’d lazily spend the day doing nothing; assing off online, running to the mall, maybe doing laundry. But we really had no agenda.
We’d both be showered and half-dressed by seven p.m. or so. She’d be in her bedroom, doing her hair at her vanity; I’d be shopping in her closet to see what I wanted to wear. We’d always be laughing. Sometimes, we’d be singing duets to whatever Broadway show soundtrack got left at our house the weekend prior. Hair-in-rollers, barely clothed, we were the epitome of what you thought girlie slumber parties looked like.
Because she so easily got carsick, she’d almost always drive. We had a few places we haunted regularly, her with a glass of white wine and me with .. whatever I could get someone to buy me. We would be joined by a staple handful of people, mostly men, and we’d hop from place to place. Around midnight, the party would inevitably come back to our front porch, huge and always inviting. I miss that front porch terribly. People would stay until two or sometimes later; I remember often seeing the paperboy on his route while we were still on the porch, drinking and talking and laughing.
Then after everyone left, we’d retire to our “octagonal hallway” to gossip about the evening, usually over leftover bruscetta.
It was a time when we had nothing to schedule for, and we took everything at our own pace. We laughed a lot. Some tears were shed, too, but we almost always laughed. People knew our door was always unlocked, and we very VERY rarely had that used against us. Our neighbors loved us. It was happy, happy home, despite it being jokingly nicknamed The Bitter House.
Now, Saturdays are scattered. Mornings are always unknowns; children have no set alarm clock. Breakfast is another unknown; children don’t have a predictable palette. Nap times are a short respite for kids only; the time is used by adults for quick-fire cleaning and laundry and errands. There are five days of left-over chores to cram into two days. There is no porch, but we did secure a nice patio set for our backyard that is quickly becoming my retreat.
And yet? There are moments where it all seems a worthy trade.
And I wonder if I’m the same girl from the Bitter House.. or if the Bitter House is who shaped the girl I am now.