"Please be careful. Drive safely, " I say for the third time as he pulls the door to the mudroom closed. He didn't respond to my warning even once. I wonder if he heard me?
"It's been an icy winter so far but the roads are dry today," I rationalize in my mind. "It will be OK. I'm being irrational."
I continue making meatballs. Feeling the ground beef and pork squishing between my fingers makes me kind of squeamish and I'm anxious for this task to be finished. I remember that the brake light was on in the Subaru the other morning. It must have been frozen and then thawed because the light went back off. I'm sure it's fine. I peek around the corner at the computer. I like this song but wish it were quiet right now. I'm restless and the noise isn't helping.
I wash my hands and turn the music off, pop the meatballs in the oven and slide my index finger around the handle of my cup of tea. I strain my ears against the silence but all I can pick up is the faint whooshing sound of the occasional car going past on the parkway and the hum of the refrigerator. "Ree-frij-er-ay-tore." Ada carefully enunciates that word and at five and a half years old still says "calepittar" instead of caterpillar. I was sure to kiss them. I was sure to press my cheek to their cheeks and I made a mental note of how silky Ingrams skin is and how I smelled that his daddy washed his hair in the shower. I focused on Ada's long, skinny pink-tights-covered legs as she danced off toward the front door. Tim was yelling at them to get their shoes and coats - I don't know why they made him ask twice, they were both begging to go.
I can't shake this tense, senseless, gross feeling that something is about to happen. Something terrible and irreversible. It dawns on me, as if for the first time, that my entire life will be in that Forrester. Without them, I would have no reason to continue to live. My stomach feels hollow and a pulsing ache starts up behind my eyeballs. My breaths are rapid now and so shallow I check my self to find out if I'm really remembering to take them. What if something happened on this one little trip? It's a short errand. Just to the city and home. "I'll be back in an hour" he said.
I run to the window. Maybe I can stop them. Maybe I can turn off the oven and go with them. Maybe he can leave one of the kids with me after all. The car is out of the driveway and already in motion toward the end of our street.
"Please, God, please keep them safe." I whisper. The three of them drive away. Feeling at once silly and terrified I sit down to wait for them to return.