How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Upstairs . . . Downstairs


You live with your daughter and her family. They live upstairs on the main floor and you live downstairs on the basement level. You babysit your two grandchildren when their parents work and if the children are not in school.

~ * ~

A fourth anniversary will soon be upon you yet you’re still thrown off balance every so often.  You’ve tried to discern why. Why do you feel so discombobulated at times? Shouldn’t you be over the sense of confusion by now?  Why haven’t you adapted? You’re not such a slow learner surely, at least you don’t believe so, but you could be wrong—you’ve been wrong before—not often, of course (or so you tell yourself).

At first you think your experience is the result of not sitting with the grandchildren or being upstairs for a couple of days. The new week begins and the cycle continues. Upon closer examination, you see recurrences even if you are upstairs every day.

When your ‘shift’ is over and daddy comes home (mommy comes later), you kiss the grandkids, pack up your paraphernalia and go home—downstairs.

When you walk through the doorway, your ‘apartment’ feels odd, unfamiliar as if you haven’t lived there for long. You’re caught in a time warp of some kind. Mind you, the feeling is momentary and soon dissipates but still, the initial blow to your psyche is like a kick in the gut. It feels like you’ve lost your way, like you’ve time travelled and landed somewhere in between. This is strange and curious, not upsetting but odd. It’s a feeling of not knowing where you belong exactly. Where is your place? Is it upstairs or downstairs?

You have never disliked where you live. On the contrary, you love it because it feels like it was made just for you; it suits you so well.

You believe the problem lies in living at such close proximity to each other, but you are not in each another’s space. Dinner together once a week, sure, and your babysitting duties, otherwise you don’t see each other. You could be strangers, living your separate lives. Why does this mental distortion continue? It’s a conundrum.

Maybe you can’t teach an-old-dog-new-tricks after all, or perhaps it just takes you longer to learn, or perchance you’re slowing down more than you thought.  Or could you have dreamed the whole thing up?

As anyone who knows you can see, there’s never a dull moment in your world. How’s everyone else’s you wonder?

~ * ~

I simply wanted to try writing in second person because I never have.