The kitchen remains from a three week stay in a house not my own are strangely dear to me, as if they somehow take on depth and meaning from the sojourn itself. I pack the three remaining onions, one partial head of garlic, one large Idaho baking potato and two smallish sweet potatoes into their own cloth bag, brought from home.
There’s so little left of a box of oatmeal, I put the dregs into a plastic sandwich bag. It will be enough for a breakfast, and I’ll think of these weeks in Jacksonville when I soak it in almond milk and add cinnamon, blueberries and walnuts. I’ll sit in the diner at home and look out at the tall blackjack oak shedding its leaves. I’ll watch the turkeys and deer troll for acorns under the spreading oak out back. I nearly cry for the longing of it sitting here at this pale wood dining table on another coast of Florida, typing and drinking coffee.
It’s only now, when we’re almost done with the regimen, that I begin to realize what a brave front we have maintained. Last night, standing in the kitchen after supper, as we were about to retire to the bedroom with our books and a tot of milk and some soft cookies, Buck suddenly looked as tired as he must be. He looked at me and sighed. “I guess I could have done another week, but I’m sure glad I don’t have to.”
In what seems to be yet another miracle in a string of them, we were able to realign tomorrow’s final appointments into the morning hours. And so we’ll drive home tomorrow afternoon rather than Saturday morning.
Sometimes just one more day means the whole world.