Miss E had commandeered my new (gigantic) beanbag chair, the one she and her cousins get kicked out of whenever I’m ready to plop myself down and relax, and she was watching her current favorite movie: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
She dreams about this movie. She recites entire scenes from this movie. Each day, she shares with me her most private feelings about the characters in this movie as if they are her sister and brothers, her aunts and uncles, her very best friends. She eats, breathes, and sleeps this movie. This movie is her life. Her life is this movie. While she’s watching, she creates a bubble which encompasses her entire body, my beanbag chair, the DSi camera she uses to snap photos during key scenes, and the television screen. She sits inside her magical force-field and nothing from the real world penetrates. Ever. Not while she’s watching Harry Potter.
Not until the night of the shocking thing.
My partner Kelly was cooking in the kitchen, chatting away – although mostly not to me – expressing her opinion on some NPR story as she clattered pots and pans, knives and cutting boards, as she chopped onions and mushrooms, sometimes humming quietly to herself.
I had just finished clearing my work bag of every last scrap of paper tossed into it since last October, and my eyes were beginning to sting in the dim light of our dining room. I was trying valiantly to digest a McDonald’s hamburger – a treat I hadn’t indulged in for many months – and I was failing. I pulled on my cranky pants, and hitched them up past my belly button while my family hummed.
My daughter replied to some question Harry had asked her. She conferred for a moment with Ron. She began a running banter with Hermione. I heard her disagree, then scold, then laugh, then coo over Hagrid’s many magical pets.
Then I laid down on the couch. Quietly. Without making a sound. I pulled a blanket up to my chin, turned my head towards Miss E and her precious TV, and tried to smile. Briefly smiled. I closed my eyes.
It must have been two or three minutes before either of them noticed. When they did, Kelly called me to the table for dinner and my daughter wailed. She needed – suddenly, desperately needed – to play. With me. With me standing. She needed to play with me upright and giggling and moving around and showering her with – I don’t know – something other than this – other than this lying on the couch.
There were tears. There was anger. There were balls hurled across the room. There were stern words, repercussions, repentance.
At the end of the evening, once our girl was fast asleep finally in her bed and everyone’s feelings had been repaired somewhat, I expressed confusion over what had occurred. Kelly replied simply, “You never rest on the couch. It was shocking.”
By then, I was feeling fine.
We laughed. We ate. We slept in our beds.
Not one of us has dared to stretch out on the couch, not since that night, not yet. But one of us will. I will. Again.
But next time, somehow, I’ll be prepared.
What’s the must shocking thing that happened in your house this week?
Photo Credit: Kelly Sue