I have an idea for the bones of a life. It starts with the house.
My house has beautiful floors. I hate carpets, and my house has very few, if any. I love wood in different patterns and colors, my house is a patchwork quilt of wood floors, textures, grains, waxes, widths, herringbone and perpendiculars. A floor where coins get stuck in the cracks sometimes, only to reappear when you desperately need a quarter to scratch a lotto ticket.
My house has windows everywhere, windows in every possible shape and size, a whole wall of windows just to show off their windowyness and a great view of wherever it is we're living these days, but man just look at that sunrise, did you even sleep last night? A room almost made of windows just for drawing and painting and darling I'm getting a sunburn indoors it's so sunny.
My house has a big kitchen, roomy enough for my terrible ineptitude, room enough for all the mistakes I'm guaranteed to be making in there in the name of caring about you, because oh look, here you are, reading a paper but who even does that anymore darling I mean honestly you weird person you. Grow up and have some crêpes. Are these our children? When did we have those? Haven't we been busy... well that's nice but keep them away from the stove and please for the love of God stop feeding grapes to the dog. Stop laughing I'm making breakfast goddammit this is serious.
Our house used to be a church, or at least it looks that way. With all of those windows some of them are bound to be stained glass and this one in the main room really is a stunner. It's a big conversation starter at dinner parties. Oh yes we have dinner parties that's what that big kitchen is for but don't fucking tell anyone I bought this party tray darling. Shut up I'm still being serious. Are the children sleeping? Okay good let's break out the really weird party games. And the wine. We have wine. Plenty of it. Good stuff too, and I know the story of every bottle even if most of them are cheap and usually you have to finish the story even if I give it a good running start, but this one really is very good because I happen to know my stuff yes I do aren't these glasses just the neatest I have a friend who does glasswork but no friends who do winework. Not yet anyway.
Our bedroom is gorgeous which I could care less about because I had far too much wine at that dinner party last night why did you invite your friends your friends always get me going and then you know how it is in the morning stop distracting me I'm being serious. No really darling stop distracting me we have children enough already and look there's one of them now running half-naked through the backyard did you know about this oh fucking look the dog is in a dress. Did you know about this? Of course you knew about this you probably arranged it because when the children are being bug-eyed and brilliant and brainy they are my children and when they are running like monkeys through a jungle they are definitely your children because you are usually leading the charge. Go out there and wrangle your spawn before I smack your bottom. I'm taking a shower. Damn it's a nice bottom.
How do I start with the bathroom? My bathroom - and it is my bathroom, don't even play that game with me - has the biggest most gorgeous bathtub anyone has ever seen this side of ancient Greece with a curtain I can pull closed and pointless little shelves that are only there to hold pointless little lilac-scented candles and when mommy is in here you do not disturb, or at least that's what daddy says out of fear of death but really if the youngest jumps in here naked out of nowhere with her toddler-addled lack of shame mommy actually thinks it's pretty fabulous and wow yes that sparkly mermaid Barbie really does change color underwater, doesn't she?
Oh Lord is somebody crying? What for? Oh Jesus yes I'm coming just two seconds give me two seconds what is it what do you mean you fell down and scraped your - oh wow alright that is pretty ba - no honey you're fine just let your father finish what he's doing I know it stings but let him put the band-aids on what on earth were you monsters doing anyway see this is why I say no dogs in drag stop laughing our child is injured no stop laughing you're the injured one everyone stop laughing I'm being serious.
Darling you're writing in run-on sentences again, he says. Oh fine yes, I say, let me put the kettle on then, you full-grown paper-reading grammar brat do you want Chai or Earl Grey and he says Irish Breakfast just to be a snit and because mommy has a problem that we don't talk about and that problem starts with Irish Breakfast and ends in the shakes so bad that she can't even paint properly without putting a stick under one arm and listening to loud music with a lot of what we call oopsie doodle words.
Darling you really are getting carried away with this, he adds in proper English and reminds me this started as an explanation and not a story. Reminds me that the scrapes and the dressed-up dog and the children jumping in the bath and the very serious crêpes and the very stupid dinner parties and the perfect patchwork floors and the windowiest window are all just words and not things. Even I'm just words, he says, and the paper blows day-old across the unset table; I've left the window open again.
All you have are the bones he says. The idea of the bones of a life.
But right before I get serious about that, he laughs and says to look at how much I have built with bones.