Wrapping myself in a towel, I get out of the shower and listen. It’s the habit of a mother, the automatic check for voices, for sounds of play.
There is only silence.
This cannot be good.
I pad down the hall to her room, where I see no children, but I hear voices, murmurs. Giggling.
Treading softly, I circle the room until I see the lower half of my son sticking out from under the bed. He’s on his tummy, with his legs crossed up in the air behind him. Relaxed. Happy.
Under the bed?
Voices again, and I realize she’s completely under the bed, and they’re just having a chat. Under the bed.
For the I don’t know how many-ith time, I marvel at this relationship.
Come here, my other half, let’s chat in the dark. A hideout under the bed? Why not? It’s perfect! Now, I have so many things to tell you, so get comfortable….
I watch and try to make sense of their conversation until a water droplet slides down my neck and I realize I’ve been standing there in a towel for how long?
My daughter is still not visible; she’s all the way under the bed, obscured by a bedskirt and a pile of pink duvet. That’s her. Never one to go halfway on anything. My son is half under and half out, yet fully immersed in their private world. I am trespassing when I finally clear my throat and ask, “So how often do you two have important chats under the bed, exactly?”
After a pause and a giggle, two heads pop out from under the box-springs, photo negatives of each other. Light and dark. Boy and girl. Fireworks and calm.
“Not that often,” he answers, flashing his jack-o-lantern grin.
And just like that, they’re gone.
Back into their private world.