In the absence of direct parenting, our home reaches a sweet stillpoint every Saturday afternoon that continues to surprise me, arriving as it does in silence.

“Listen to that,” I say to my husband. “It’s nice, isn’t it!”

But as afternoon gives way to evening, the sweetness begins to fade.

“What did you say?” he calls from the basement or the backyard or the attic.

I never answer.

Not only because I’m deeply annoyed (no one at all has spoken!)

But because hollering back
would only deepen the echo
of our empty


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