Tonight, I ate my dinner in the dark. The power wasn't turned off. All of the light bulbs were functional. Even the circuit breaker box was a-okay.
I was hiding.
I went to bed last night with a colossal headache and it was still raging strong when I woke up this morning. Most of the day, it hurt to blink. By the time dinner time rolled around, the adrenaline that had buffered me through the day was at an end and left me ragged and on edge.
Somehow, I managed to make marinara with meat and sausages (and hid a pureed sweet potato in it for added nutrition!) along with a good sized batch of pasta. I managed to do this while holding my screaming, fussy, teething, hungry, 17-month old daughter in my arms. During this cooking spree, Little M woke up from his nap and was hungry for attention and snacks.
You can imagine the howling, wailing and gnashing of toddler teeth.
Big M came down from studying and managed to corral the kids into the living room while I finished cooking. But before he left me, he did something magical. (Now, I've seen him do this before but never really acknowledged the merits of this action. I am a true believer now.) He put up the baby gate. Yes, he gated our children away from me and the kitchen.
Two pitiful little faces stood at the entrance to the kitchen and wailed, "MOMMA! MOMMA! MOMMA!" in an off-tune minor key while I whisked from sink to oven to counter to sink. No little bodies underfoot. No one clinging to my legs. No one trying to physically turn me away from what I was doing so they could yell, "UP! UP!! UP!!!!" at me while giving me puppy-dog-eyes.
Once their plates were ready, I handed them to Big M over the baby gate and began putting up the leftovers, labeling the containers for the freezer and did a bit of clean up. Then, I sat down in a corner away from the door and hid.
The kids were done eating and were clamoring for me once again but I didn't make a peep. They stood at the baby gate with their little faces pressed against the chicken-wire style barrier. Their little noses poked through and tried to sniff me out but I remained perfectly still and held my breath.
As Big M leaned over the gate to put the dirty dishes on the counter, he caught sight of me and asked, "Uh... whatcha gonna do?"
Who? Me? The one hiding in the corner? "I'm going to eat my dinner in peace and quiet."
He might have grunted or said something but I don't remember what it was because I was already escaping to a fantasy world of solitude and serenity.
From time to time, Bright Eyes would come running back to the baby gate, crying, trying to find me. That's when I decided it was time to turn off the lights. So I did!
I sat in the dark and ate my dinner.
Suddenly, the cool soft wind of the ceiling fan was a soothing Mediterranean ocean breeze. My sneaky-sweet-potato marinara and pasta was a rustic Sicilian meal. The sounds of my husband singing "Da duh da duh daduh daduh" to the tune of "Cliffs of Dover" was a group of sultry troubadours crooning to me. The soft glow from my neighbor's back porch light was a full moon, big enough to reach up and grab.
It was a wonderful, seven-and-a-half minute fantasy.