Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
I look up from my computer—accounting, bleah— and realize that the rest of the house is both quiet and dark.
The girls’ doors are closed and they’re tucked in for
the night. The iPods are off and the indie music has gone silent for this day. The dog is subdued and napping on the kitchen tiles with his belly up and his back twisted in the shape of an upper case C.
Except for the lamp over my computer, the house is utterly dark, a result of Aislinn being told many times to turn off the lights when she leaves and her insistence on showing me, usually when I need to find my way in the blackness, that she has complied with my wishes. The little tea light candles Shannon and I were burning in bowls of water for people we love—for their growth, for peaceful sleep amid nightmares, for unconditional love—have burned down to their core, leaving a hollow in the cool white wax unlike most of our candlework.
And I’m at my computer, checking Shannon’s work from earlier today, and so thrilled to have her help. This means my state taxes will be filed in a couple of days and royalties and 1099’s will be going out in one week. Always a chore in January, and I’m amazed at how much work she turns out to be so young. And I’m content. Tired but content.
Contentment was the subject of my walk with Shannon tonight, a quick barefoot trek down to the lake and back in 40-degree weather. We shivered and talked about our ups and downs over the last six months or so. Too many breakups and deaths and emotional rollercoasters. And yet, at the moment, we both like our lives and are doing just fine.
We both realize how “just fine” we are doing by looking back at our journals, separately, over the past months. We see all the emotions and rants and yearnings and upsets. It’s all there in print and pixel. We see how far we’ve come.
She frets that, if anyone were to pick up her diary and read these past months of hers, they’d think she was overly emotional and always lost in her upset thoughts. A casual reader wouldn’t realize that her journal is her place to purge those emotions so she doesn’t have to think about them all the time. I know what she means. There are times when I commit my upsets to my journal, release the anger or pain or fear and then it’s gone, expelled from my inner life. I may never think of it again unless someone who reads my journal questions it.
It’s like our journals are our sin-eaters, and we are absolved and more content after we’ve laid out our banquets.
So the house is peaceful tonight and we are relishing the sense of contentment, and excited to see what tomorrow will bring us.