The kids are all in bed. Liam's snoring. Zander's drolling. Noa's curled into a little ball, sighing.
I grab the baby monitor, the key from the hook by the door, my lyric book. Flip-flops hit the patio stones, still wet from the afternoon rain. A low haze hangs around the garden and I'm already imagining digging in that dirt and making it grow into something beautiful. I have wiped away all traces of the work day, cleansed of makeup, grey joggers - hems now damp and heavy from my route across the way - sweatshirt too big and so cozy, hair messy and piled behind my head.
The purple door waits. Cast in shadow and skeletons of the grape vine I didn't trim back before winter. The key sticks but concedes to my persuasion. It's been months since I've been alone in here. Not since the lightning strike last summer that knocked out our screen. It's cold. The crack beside the air conditioner beckoning the cool air to come inside and rest. The new monitor glows brilliant and hangs the room in grey-blue. The overhead doesn't work - blown fuse - but the lamp adds it's own rainbow to the shadows, it's multi-coloured mini-shades playing tricks and daring imagination.
There have been times of near-burst seams, when teenaged boys and their guitars and stench strain the confines of these florescent quarters, when neighbours quake at the violent amplitude and equilibrium is challenged, when I check the bathroom with one eye squeezed shut and question the investment. But I am far removed from that now. The silence is sweet. The soft hum of technology is peace.
Aunt Carol's old midi keyboard sits beneath the speakers. I balance my lyrics and chords behind it. A new song. Spilling out upon a click track - oh, how I wish this piano was real - all 88 keys. I am confined by it's limitations. Am. C/G. F. Am. E. And on it goes. I watch the screen. Watch the spillage of notes as it scores what grew within my head onto bass and treble clef and it is poetry.
I create an extended genesis. Run through double doors, shutting them in my wake. Steady headphones on my messy head and sing into the microphone behind triple-paned glass in this asylum of egg carton walls. And again. And again. Melodies and harmonies and I wonder if that bridge is too short...?
Time doesn't wait. Midnight ticks by the top of my screen. I am not done. But I am still mother and have children to tend to in the morning. I say goodnight. Turn out the light. Wrestle my key from the lock. Rewet my hems as I dash through darkness to bed.