Center of My Attention

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.

This walk, on this evening, will change my focus by the time I get home, and I’ll spend the next few nights re-arranging furniture in a way  that will be unlike most homes I know.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

It’s a beautiful night, and I’m alone under the night sky with a moon that’s hurriedly waxing to full. I love the shadows of moon rays and oak leaves as I wander along the wooded path. The evening is so pleasant that it makes me yearn just a little for some time in the future when I can walk hand-in-hand with someone on such a night.

I’m barefoot,  the evening is cool but not chilled, the path is firm under my feet. There’s life all around me, yet I’m meandering, enjoying my solitude. I’m vaguely aware of all the families happily tucked into all the homes here, unaware that I’m here in the moonlight, watching for falling stars.

Other than  moonlight,  there’s  an  occasional  porch light along  the  line of houses to my left or the line of houses to my right, or those houses behind me, or those ahead of me. In the periphery of my vision, I notice a colored beacon in each house.

Huh?

I stop and stare across the night at the row of houses to my right. Fifteen that I can see before the curve hides their neighbors  down the street. At each house, through at least one window, I see a bright square of colors.

Televisions.

I can see movement in some of the rooms. I’m not so close that I would intrude or spy, but I see shadows moving in front of the TVs. That’s where the families are. In those rooms. Facing those TVs. With their living rooms arranged to get the best view of the screen. Their homes and lives focused on the televisions.

As I’m walking home, it’s all I can notice. The colored light boxes  flickering at me through the windows, even though I’m staring at the moon or sighing over the trail of a fallen star.

When I arrive home, I pause in the family room. It’s empty and it echoes. I’ve had to replace the flooring but I haven’t hauled the furniture back in yet. When I do, it’ll be different.

No more angling of the chairs to face the TV or putting the TV in the spot of honor and then arranging our furniture and  our lives  around  it. The  TV will go discreetly into the corner. The chairs will face the center of the room, with plenty of room to sit on the floor with the girls and play board games or talk or play with the dog.

For a while now, we’ve been making our own lives the center of our attention,  but starting tonight, we’ll reflect that in how we arrange our home.