It's been a long time since there were young voices in my house. Lauren, Clarissa and Ryan have been here more than a week. Sometimes the house is electric with their noise and movement. Sometimes it is like they aren't even here.
There have been moments since they moved in when I have felt like a very old woman; when they dash down the stairs with little white earphones in their ears, and when they pour a bowl of cereal while punching numbers on their tiny phones, and when they decide at 10 p.m. to go out for orange juice.
There have been as many moments when I have felt like time has worked its way backward and I can almost seeTom Kimura stepping in off the patio and telling me the hummingbirds in the hydrangeas have hatched.
I was the age they were when I told Tom I didn't love him even though I really did. Funny thing: I can't imagine a one of these girls being as foolish, and yet they seem much younger than I was.
I have let Ryan use the Kimuras' old gardeners cottage for her studio. I don't know why I still think of it like that. There hasn't been a gardener living in it since the 1960s. And that man wasn't even a Kimura. It was a musty mess when we cracked open the door, but these resourceful young women had it cleaned up in no time. I am glad there is nothing left in it to remind me of when Tom and his father lived there. And yet, I am reminded anyway very time I poke my head inside. I want to give the girls their space and Ryan certainly doesn't need me interrupting her painting, but now that the cottage has been aired and open, I am drawn to it.
I loaned Clarissa another book, As I Lay Dying. She told me it sounds incredibly depressing. I told her it is actually more about how to live than how to die. And she said she'd read it and see for herself.
I picture a long conversation in the cottage when she finishes.