There are tiny voices screaming in the near distance; crashing, banging disturbances vibrate through the walls and under foot.
She hears, but does not judge, for she is safe in her kitchen space.
The steady white noise of the faucet as it pours forth a clear jet of water. The gentle pressure wherever her gracefully moving hands intercept the stream. The drifting scent of clementine and lemongrass. The visual play of foamy, white suds against the sleek metal basin.
The youngest yells at the oldest for his unwillingness to share the “best” bouncing ball and the oldest grunts in indignation. Tones rise. Tears erupt. Deliberate stomping as the children move with disgruntled intention to one another.
The voices of her children, just like the facet, fade into white.
Naked feet, kissed with chipping, flamingo polish, lightly graze the surface of the cool linoleum as she rocks back and forth, back and forth, back and forth—the meditative sway that is breathed into a woman the day she gives birth.
Her sponge moves steadily around the plates, circling slowly, braced by a damp, sudsy hand. The warm water contrasts the cool breeze from the window she faces. The dishes are transferred, one by one, to the drainboard—proud and erect in their respective slat. Cutlery, like crayons in a virgin box, is filed away to dry in the morning spring air.
The youngest taps her leg and asks for a glass of water. She smiles, steps away from her station and obliges.
When she returns to the sink, she recognizes the task is complete. The spoons and bowls, the superhero cups, frying pans and spatulas, the silent tools of their everyday life are clean once more.
She grasps the sprayer from its home and circles the basin one final time, watching the remaining proof of her time here swirl and disappear down the drain. Slowly, she closes off the line. She waits until the spigot releases its last few drops, breathes deeply, then turns to face her day once more.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta