I’m in the kitchen staring at the mountain of unwashed dishes. There have been earthquakes recently in Turkey, in Northern Italy, in Indonesia. I fear the next one is in my kitchen as the plates shift across ketchup, congealed grease and other condiments.
“Mum-.mumm, ohhhh awwwwhhh…dad? mumble and wha rumble?”
Noah’s muffled unintelligible question reaches me from the depths of his closet. He has dived in headfirst with the mission of sorting his clothes.
I pull out a plate, the mountain grumbles but doesn’t enter into seismic activity.
“I can’t understand what you’re saying Noah. Your head’s in the closet.”
I pull out another plate of the same size, hoping to make a new, more solid pile that I can then wash.
“What dad?” His voice is now clear, his head must be out of the closet.
“I said that if you want me to understand you have to pull your head out of the closet.”
“I just did.”
I’ve always hated conversations shouted at each other from separate rooms.
“Come here if you want to say something.”
He huffs and puffs but comes into the kitchen.
“What are you doing, dad?”
He arches a brow, glances from the pile to me and back to the pile.
“But dad, you need water.”
“Exactly, which is why I’ve got to empty the sink, make piles that’ll stand and then wash.”
“Sorry dad, but you know if you always wait until there’s so many it’ll always be the same, you know like you have to, I don’t know like fight a mountain.”
“I know, I know.”
“Sorry dad, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but yeah…”
“Don’t worry. You had a question?”
“Oh, yeah…come.” He runs off to his room. I stare down the pile of kitchenware, willing it to stay.
Noah is standing in his room, surrounded by several piles of clothing. Our fat cat is lolling in one of them. It yawns and winks at me with that ‘oh, you’re there’ look of defiance. Generally, I would chase it away, but hey, these are Noah’s piles. If he wants to wear cat fur….It’s not like I haven’t told them both before, often.
Amazingly easy, seeing what others should do and telling them.
“Yeah, so look, dad. This here is the stuff that is too small, so that you know you can bring it to that place where they give it away to poor people, yeah…”
Poor is also a state of mind…we have little money, but enough to feel ‘not poor’.
“…then this is the stuff that’s too big and like you can like euh, put them on those things you know…”
Shows you how rarely we use ‘those things’.”
“…yeah, hangers. So then we have two piles left. You see that dad? Yeah. Those are like shorts and t-shirts and like stuff for wearing now. You know? Yeah. And this one, this one here, you can put away because it’s like for when it gets cold again which is like when school starts again which is a long time from now, because you know it hasn’t finished yet, so like before it starts again it has to finish. Get it?”
He chuckles. This kid actually enjoys sorting and separating and cleaning. Way ahead of me.
“Yeah, so now I’m going to fold all the stuff I’m like going to wear now and I’m going to put it neatly in the basket, so like I have it right there. Cool huh?”
Way way ahead of me.
“Yeah, I’m good with like organizing and stuff like that. Do you think dad?”
“Absolutely. You’re really good at a lot of things.”
“Really? You’re really really think so?”
“Yeah, you know dad sometimes I feel like I can do anything like I dream of, like sometimes I even think that I’ll learn how to fly. You know?”
“Maybe you’ll invent a way for humans to fly.”
“Yeah, or maybe I”ll invent comic books, like draw them and write them, you know.”
“Whatever fits, whatever makes you happy.”
I’m about to continue this Oprah moment when a sudden slide and crash from the kitchen silences me.
Noah and I look at each other.
Northern Italy, Turkey, Indonesia and now Montreal have all experienced earthquakes.
Maybe I can blame it on global warming.