The lower level is dim. It is lit by one small lamp, a tin-star nightlight, and the overhead in the pantry because I was too lazy to turn it off when I grabbed the bag of tortilla chips.
Upstairs, the children are asleep.
I am alone, dunking these bougie multigrain chips into spicy hummus, thinking about the past. For someone so relieved to have escaped it, I certainly spend a lot of time looking backward.
The laundry is diligently humming away behind closed doors.
What’s important to remember is that I reminisce with relief. And pride. Because I was stuck in a spot, in a perpetual cycle for so long that I could easily still be whirring around in the same old place—lonely but not alone, frustrated, yearning, broke and hopeless. But I’m not. The lid came flying open, I climbed out, and I shut it for the last time.
I no longer measure my days in domestic tasks and women’s work.
Sometimes it seems silly to relish the present as much as I do. And yet I can’t help but pause and soak it in, sitting in peace on a quiet Monday night. Older, calmer, in a kitchen that smells of tomorrow morning’s coffee and Tide detergent.
Because I can pay for the nicer shit now.