Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tick Tock

I just know it's coming. Any moment now, the queasy feeling, the over-salivation, the urge to purge. It's inevitable, like April 15 or another root canal.
I got home from work yesterday, and it was eerily quiet. Emma was nearly asleep in the Family Room, and when I poked my head into the office, I saw no one. Vicky was assisting Sam into bed. He'd come home from school at 10, and had more than emptied his stomach several times since then. A quick hug from us, and he went to sleep. Emma soon nodded off in the big chair, and Vicky headed out for more supplies, leaving me to computer nerddom for an hour or so.
About the time she got home, I was standing in the middle of the house, thinking to myself, "So this is what it'd be like to not have kids in the house. Sure, I could focus on what I was doing and, sure, the usual pounding in my head from layer upon layer of TV noise, shouting, feet pounding up and down the hallway, balls bouncing off walls wasn't there - but the vacuum-like silence was unnerving, too. I have these moments, from time to time, like the guy in "The Seven-Year Itch'' or probably more like Don Knotts in "The Reluctant Astronaut" - short fantasies about how life could've, would've been different. It didn't take more than a couple of instants to be glad that Sam wasn't usually in bed at this time of day.
Emma woke up just as I was bringing the plate of BBQ ribs in from the patio. She uncurled, then hurled on the chair, floor, and herself, mostly. Ahh, the smell of pork n' puke. We got her down the hall, cleaned up the mess(es), and put her to bed, so we could enjoy the sounds of her dry-heaving through dinner. Seriously, one of the hardest things about being Emma's Dad is watching her throw up and not be able to explain to her that it's going to be alright. She looks so worried and upset, I hate that look on her face. All you can do is talk to her and hold her, and hope she understands that it's going to get better.
Dinner's over, cleaned up, put away, and I settle into my chair for the purpose of napping before bedtime. What do I hear? Yes, that's it. The sound of a cat, just outside the patio door, heaving up whatever it was that it was heaving up. I took it as a sign. I know it's coming. I'm just not sure when.