I'm in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner. Happy. The house is empty but for me. I dig myself into the place, wipe down the table cloth and stack the dishwasher with white bowls stained with pesto and parmesan cheese. There is nothing to bother me. I've texted my son in Dublin. He was home from college this week. A reading week. He left this morning to return to the city, never said goodbye properly,sleepy eyes hindered our farewell. But sometimes farewells are over stated.
We had a good time. He has started to write. We shared long conversations on the writing process. Mulled it over. Walked and sat around the table after dinner covering the gamut of words, true sentences, themes and in general stories we could write about.
I ramble. I don't know why but I wanted to tell him that we sold the couches in the living room. I've been wanting to replace them for ages and last Christmas when H and I were rambling around a department store in search of gifts he sat down on a store model of a couch and announced that we should rid ourselves of the ostentatious leather couches and go for oatmeal, fabric, something soft. I was delighted. Put the ad on-line and forgot about it. But here they were tonight, the new couch owners, thrilled with the condition, ideal for their needs they said, we'll take them.
Son responds to my text. He tells me he was cycling home from the library and somebody spat on him. I am suddenly rattled. Somebody chose to spit on my son in Dublin. Isn't it amazing. Why? Did he have a look of books on his face. A deep infusion of Steinbeck and Camus? A caring honest cast to his beautiful eyes. Was it the way he looked anxious to get back to his flat? Was he hungry, wishing he was coming home to my kitchen for dinner instead of having to turn around and rustle up his own meal? How can someone spit on another human being? How is that possible? We are supposed to be a friendly welcoming nation. All the bullshit about Ireland of the Welcomes. All that talk about The Gathering this year, a bait to bring up the tourism figures and here was my son, cycling home from studying his head off and this is what he gets.
But I have to say he is lucky. He has a passport with an American stamp on it. He is already preparing to travel there for Summer. I send him off without sorrow. He will thrive there. I am sure of that and besides I think spitting on people in America doesn't occur anymore. I think he'll do just fine there. I think if I could be nineteen again, almost twenty, I would be booking my ticket alongside him instead of hiding out in this kitchen wiping away the crumbs. Kidding myself that I'm happy.