At Home For A Minute

02/21/2011 By Shawn Burns

Emily dries her hair.

Adrian pulls a wooden train around the living room, navigating by the three die-cast Cars toys and the Jessie doll, residual childness on the floor I just cleaned.

Another battle wages against ants in the kitchen, attracted by who knows what smell in the kitchen. Pheromone trails are sought out and destroyed, but the ants find a way. Poisoned granules, sinister ant-sized apples, are left along the path, in the hope that they will be picked up and brought before the Queen. Somewhere, a hardened veteran laughs that he loves the smell of ant traps in the morning.

I sport a black t-shirt that reads, in white lettering, “Director”. A gift from a friend who works at a studio. It’s an ironically ironic t-shirt. Scenes begin and end without my input.

Emily finishes drying her hair. I finish packing a picnic for the family. I leave the kitchen to the ants, once again. I am confident that no matter how many battles they win this week, I will win the war. So I smile at them as they scout across the tile floor, invisible on the black, offending on the white.

Erin turns the volume up and down on the CD player in her room, strains of the Tangled soundtrack warbling through the house. She implores her brother to come listen with her. He cries.

A silence explodes around the house, no voices, no movement.

Emily smells like the beach now, a lotion on her arms. I want to take her to summer.

Now a fight over socks. Erin will lose, but there will be scars.

Adrian needs a diaper change before we go. He does not smell like the beach.

The grass out front is green. Tonight we will sit outside and listen to the kids run on the lawn. That’s a long time from now.

Where are my shoes? It’s time to go out. Erin is wearing socks.

Emily smells like the beach.