It’s quiet today. A fever has invaded our home and I’m washing my hands excessively, hoping it’s not the flu. The house is hushed during the week, but today there is a vacuum of sound, an otherworldly stillness because I know I’m not here alone. A teenager sweats as she sleeps, twisted among wrinkled sheets in her bedroom down the hall. Even the cat knows something is wrong, weaving behind me as I crack the door to check on my girl, questioning me with a drawn out “Moeoow?”
On days like this I know I am a mother--absorbing the scalding heat of a boiled over engine through my cool palm on a damp forehead. Her warmth percolates from inside, bursts of steam released from a source down deep, smoldering up, blistering through. So long ago my mother put her temperate hands on my blazing face and I sighed at the feeling. Now my daughter takes my hand and places it on her hot neck, and I remember her relief.