The Invitation

Somewhere in the dark hollows of my disoriented sleepy brain, I hear a car door slam.  My eyes adjust to the dim room and I take out my earplugs. What was that?  What time is it?

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Another slam, and my eyes are wide open.  It’s 5:23pm.  Dusk.  Someone is in the driveway.  Well, okay.  We’re not expecting anyone, but this happens even out in the country.  Deliveries, politicians, clean-cut-polite-young Mormons.  How do they find us?  The Bearded One is downstairs in the deep end of his own late-afternoon autumn nap after working on the road all morning, filling the first potholes of the year.

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I’ll just peek out the window.  No need to sound the alarm, but I need to check.

I squint through the branches of the cedar tree that hides our bedroom window.  It’s a silver minivan parked at the end of the driveway.  Our old neighbors!  I see Batman circling the van, urging his parents out.

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We knew they might drop by sometime this week from an errand they had close by.  We invited them.

“They’re here!” I shriek to the Bearded One, but it comes out garbled.  I take the little nightguard out of my mouth, wipe my sleepy spit, and quietly shout “They’re coming up the driveway!”  I slip out of my warm bed and hobble to the bathroom.  I clip my wild hair into a ponytail, and look into the dim mirror. What day is this?

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The Bearded One moans.  “Whaaaa?”

I bump into the bathroom doorway to holler down to him.  “Hansel, Gretel, and Batman!”

“Huhh?”

“Honey, get up!”

The Bearded One mutters something, but I can tell he is up now because I can hear his belt buckle jangling.

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I find my socks and slippers, and yank them on as I peek out the window.  “All five of them are in the driveway!” I call out.

We love these kids — ages 9, 7, and 5 — and have missed them since they moved away this past June.  We saw them for the first time in 4 months last week — was that just last week?  They stopped by after Batman’s dentist appointment, and we took them up the trail to Jake and Ruby’s grave.

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They marveled at the dark autumn forest, the branches and logs they had earlier hauled to line the edge of the trail, artifacts from ancient times.

I hear the toilet flush downstairs and I know that the Bearded One is functional.  Garfield looks at me from the bed as if I’ve gone insane.

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That’s when I wonder why I haven’t heard a stampede up the front deck steps, or even voices.  I decide to check their progress one last time before going downstairs.  I look out the window.

No van.  No people.  The driveway is completely empty.  I heard nothing.  This is impossible.

They must have decided we were napping, I think.  One of us is usually outside or in the kitchen and greets them, and they are very thoughtful and know I sometimes take naps, but wow.  It’s like I imagined the whole thing.  I was pretty deep in sleep.

“Sweetheart?”  I’m at the top of the stairs now, staring down at my half-awake husband.  He has one boot on and has just tucked his own wild hair into his hat to greet our friends.

“I’m sooooo sorry,” I say.  “They left.”

“Left?”

“But they were here!” I say.

“A dream?” he says and smiles a little.

He will milk this for days….

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17 responses to “The Invitation

  1. I have been where you are! Having a nana nap, drooling, lying in that sunny patch with Bubbles the greypuss snuggled next to me and I hear the knock on the door. The half awake struggle downstairs, trying not to fall like a raggedy doll as your legs won’t work like they should. Then you answer the door and try and appear like you’ve been busy down the back of the house doing something really important……..:D hahahahahahaha you just know the visitors see right through that excuse for your dishevelled appearance. Love the beautiful cool mossy path as well. I can smell the dirt almost 🙂 Thank you Christi. Your blog is a lovely way to end my day as its 11pm at night here as I read this. xox Hugs to Garfield and hellos to BO from Albany West Australia

    • You describe it better than I do, Cathy! lol Were you secretly there?? The drool, the sunny patch, ahhhhh. Hope you are sleeping soundly right now, blissfully dreaming as we toddle around, until the sun sets. Love to you from Olalla. 🙂

  2. Your right, hes not going to let this one go. LOL
    Keep Dreaming, I just Love your story’s.

  3. It is reassuring to know that I am not the only person who has such vivid dreams. I do not nap, but I have gotten up of a morning and sworn I heard beckoning from outside. Thanks for another warm fuzzy!

    • It’s true, Robbyn, I do have vivid dreams and hear all sorts of messages in the ether…but Christy, the mom, just commented over on FB that they really were here!! Vindication is sweet. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  4. ……. So you missed a visit from Batman and Hansel and Gretel? That is sad! [I’ve just discovered it’s good to read your posts a bit later, after some comments have been made – we get more of the story 🙂 ] I’ve been having computer troubles – but this morning it is behaving itself – especially so I can have my weekly farmlet chapter…. even the lap top loves you! 🙂

    • We missed them, it’s true. But they will be back! The story will continues and continues, doesn’t it? They have grown so much, Hansel is as tall as his mom now. Love to you and your laptop in New Zealand. 🙂

  5. I don’t have nana naps (yet) but I do drool on the couch like Homer Simpson from about 6.30pm on ;). I believer you about the visitors (thousands wouldn’t 😉 ). Hugs from Tassie 🙂

    • I knew you’d believe me, Fran. I have vivid dreams, but not that get me out of my snuggle bed!

      • When I drag my sorry ass to my own snuggle bed I hit the pillow and am out like a light till about 1.30 when I need to pee (DAMN you womans bladder!). I don’t hear anything. Steve could come in with a drum banging it loudly and I wouldn’t know. One of the benefits to getting up early as I used to be a very light sleeper and now when I sleep…I SLEEP 😉

  6. Christine Widman

    Here my love and I take an afternoon siesta after a full morning of B&B breakfast, 4 hours of B&B cleaning & property/pool clean-up.
    We have about an hour before new B&B guests arrive. We play Scrabble on the computer – us against Mavin, the cyberspace computer whiz.
    If no guests are checking in, we do the middle of the day deep sleep also.
    I completely relate to the “What day is this?” bewilderment if abruptly wakened. A lololololol for me plus “Garfield looks at me from the bed as if I have gone insane.”
    Big hugs,
    C

  7. Oh I just laughed and laughed, that was adorable!

  8. Such a treat to find a post I missed …. and it’s such a good one too.

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