Maddie wandered through the house, pausing intermittently to give high scrutiny to some benign object, as she would in a museum. Well, it was a museum…now. The Madeleine and Albus Museum of a Beautiful Ordinary Life. MAMBOL. She smirked at her own inventiveness, then felt the muscles of her upturned lips slacken, gradually pulling her mouth back down to its normal, flatline position. No one would implore her not to touch anything in here, like the cabinets he'd just done up with shellac, darkly stained, as she wished. Or caution her not to walk anywhere over there, like the hardwood floors he'd just refinished. He'd picked her up by the waist that day, locking her in an awkward, elevated hug, her head above his, maneuvering them both over a patch of the wet, gleaming floors as she shook with silent laughter.
She'd always been waiting, anticipating the big, exciting thing. She had no real sense of what that thing would be or what it would entail, couldn't visualize or imagine it. It was abstract, amorphous, but would bring with it a feeling of weightlessness, a sustained buoyancy that would place them on a higher frequency, a more colorful, flavored existence. The tasks, the routine, the day-to-day, these she did cheerfully. They were a prelude. Scraping the soft, grey lint off the dryer's lift-out screen after washing sweatshirts, left damp with perspiration from their Sunday morning hikes. Running warm soapy water over the teapot that sat on the stovetop, left coated with grease splatter from the afternoons he played hooky and surprised her with pan-fried pork chops and sautéed greens. Settling in on a rainy Friday night with two movie selections—agreed upon only after a stimulating debate that could've won the approval of Roger & Ebert—and a deep-dish pepperoni pizza.
She grabbed at the mismatched stack of blankets, kept in the den, on hand for warmth, cuddling. She took one by the corner, felt the weight of it as its bulk opened and cascaded to the floor. She put it up to her nose and inhaled once, then again, trying to pull his scent out of the fabric. She wrapped the blanket around her as he had on many nights. Those times, that feeling, that was the big, exciting thing. She hadn't realized it as it had happened, as the minutes and moments of beautiful had ticked by. And then they had stopped. All she could do now was wait, pray, hope, somewhere down the line, for another chance at ordinary.
Notes from the Author
This piece was written for a class in which the instructor directed students to choose a song for inspiration and extrapolate beyond the lyric’s contents to form the basis of a story. Wayne Brady’s R&B hit “Ordinary” was my source.