Flashback to Dinnertime, six years ago. (What follows is the truth, with no exaggeration.)
It’s a weekday evening around 7:30 when I turn the door key and enter the snug two-story apartment I share with my very new husband and mute, elderly cat. He’s still at work for at least another hour; I’ve finished my workday and regular sweat session at the gym and still have time to spare before my primetime TV-fest begins. Kitty Poo Poo greets me with her five pounds of quiet, twisting her body through my legs and around my ankles, moving her tiny jaws open and closed in her speechless mew. I drop my gym bag and keys on the doormat and lift her easily, rubbing my nose in her ears as I climb the steps to shower.
Fifteen minutes later, we descend the stairs, me in pajamas and wet hair and Kitty at my heels. As we walk to the kitchen, I grab the TV remote from the end table and flick on my channel to let it rev while I cook. In the kitchen, I open cabinets, drawers and the refrigerator and assemble my goods: bowl, box of Cheerios, tablespoon, milk. Kitty waits prissily on her bottom at my feet while I assemble hers: food bowl, pouch of Fancy Feast. I serve her dinner first, then make my own.
She eats in the kitchen, I on the couch. She joins me as I put my bowl on the coffee table, settling into a furry black-and-white ball on my chest. The theme song to my favorite sitcom begins.
After the first show, my husband comes home. Kitty jumps to greet him and returns to my chest. He kisses me where I lay, then changes into comfortable clothes and sits with us on the oversized chair next to me with a huge blanket and a saucepan of Chunky soup.
We watch TV. Sometimes, we order pizza.
Fast-forward to Dinnertime, Present Day. (What follows is the truth, with no exaggeration.)
It’s 4:30 in the afternoon. Our first house has replaced our apartment; four- and one-year-old little boys have replaced Kitty Poo Poo, God rest her soul. My office workday has given way to my home workday. My sweat sessions at the gym are infrequent and do not necessitate a gym bag; a plastic grocery bag knotted around dirty diapers waiting to go to the trash sits in place of my blue Nike duffel on the inner doormat. I dropped the house keys near the stinky diaper refuse when I entered an hour ago with my arms full of packages and children. My toddler finds them and sits on the kitchen floor pushing the panic button on my car alarm remote. The car is parked three feet from the kitchen sun doors and it blares like a test of the citywide emergency broadcast system. My son is unfazed. He pushes harder.
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