I had thought when I vacuumed earlier that would be that. But no, I was just warming up, grimly observing the grime on the baseboards, emptying the drawers–baby nail clippers and travel-sized toothpastes, pediatric suppositories, band-aid wrappers, that Moroccan hair oil that smelled so good in the salon now spilled and sticky, hotel lotions and old soap containers, filmy plastic recitations of days gone by.
Scrubbing the bathroom never felt so good. I tackled the toilet, those impossible rings–not nearly as pretty as Saturn’s–then squirted the mirrors clean of fingerprints. I noted the dust clinging to the eggplant-colored walls and I took a rag to those walls and wiped them down. I surveyed the sills, rinsing out shells, a tiny tin watering can, a mason jar, sunflower pollen. I rounded the double sinks’ spot-stained silver faucets until they were smiling, tossed powder with abandon all over the bathtub. I rinsed the bottoms of bottles, ducking the shower spray, on hands and knees, finding a rhythm.
The music turned up by now, my grey sweatshirt thrown over the girls’ little footstool, just shy of sweaty, dusk whispering through the open windows, every clean corner a fierce reclamation, a silent meditation, a welcoming home.