i work not very far at all from where my parents live. i stop at home on a pretty regular basis to pick up this or that, but because of their work hours, i rarely see my mom and dad and often have the house to myself. sometimes i feel like a ghost in the house i grew up in, coming and going, leaving traces of my presence behind: the tv turned to a different channel, shuffled issues of magazines, or – when i’m feeling like a good daughter – a rack of just-washed dishes.

tonight i dropped in to do a load of laundry as i sometimes do. while the machine rumbled and whirred the week’s clothes, i went out the screen door to the backyard and sat at the patio table with a book. under the broad umbrella, i sat down to enjoy the warm evening. there, i noticed a large double-wick candle, a box of matches, and a couple grains of rice left on the seat. i put the pieces together and stitched an unfamiliar image of my parents’ life at home. they, too, like to take their dinner outside on a pleasant, almost-summer night? they buy heavily scented jar candles and sit by their glow?

sometimes it’s strange to think you are like your parents, especially when all you’ve felt these past years is the distance. then suddenly without even trying you find your habits tracing over theirs, effortlessly, with no thought to it at all. sometimes it’s the bad habits, like my mom’s stubbornly nocturnal sleeping routine, but today it was nice to draw the pretty lines back to my family.


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