Written by Emily
At exactly 7:28 pm, my husband and I looked at each other in horror and gasped. My pulse quickened and the color drained from my face.
“Was that a knock on the door?!”
We thought the same thing: “Can we pretend we’re not home?”
Suddenly the subtle recessed lights above our kitchen peninsula felt like interrogation lights: bright, hot, damning. My cover was blown. I scanned the kitchen. I had chosen to give the girls baths while the pans soaked. The dirty dishes sat on the counter like beacons for the weary traveler at the door, screaming for whomever it was to “Look! Look over here!” I could feel my palms sweating. Chloe’s socks were on the floor. A doll stroller was on its side with its contents (a baby, a purse and a notebook) scattered next to it.
Gah! Like the close-up camera work in a crime drama, my eyes zoomed in on every item that made my house look lived in and thus unfit for strangers who might judge my “homemaking.” Was that dried cereal on the counter, too?
If we could have rock, paper, scissored for it, we would have, but proximity to the door made my husband the loser. I waved him forward. In a scream whisper I said, “Well, answer it!”
As my husband opened the door, I held my breath. Who was it? I heard a man’s voice. A solicitor? And then a smaller voice announced, “I want to say hi to Noah.” CRAP! It was the neighbors who only days before had Noah to their house for a play date. Oh sure, they get to prepare. They get to tidy. They get to make sure their toddler’s face is clean. They get to make sure their son is wearing a shirt.
The cautionary words, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” played in my mind.
I slithered from the bar stool and ran to the playroom. “Noah! Your friends are at the door!” In a singsong in case they might hear, I added, “Run to the door to say hello!”
“But I’m not wearing a shirt!” he said, startled and unprepared.
“Just go!” I said through clenched teeth, fearing the neighbors were already standing over the dinner dishes I didn’t finish. “Take one for the team,” I wanted to add.
I scooted him toward the door.
Chloe followed with her wet hair slicked back and her robe tie trailing behind her.
I walked into the laundry room and stayed there.
When I heard the door close, I calmly exited the still-dark laundry room, “What was that about?”
My husband answered, “I have no idea.”
“But,” I stammered, “what did they say? Why did they drop by?”
“I’m really not sure.”
It was as though he was so caught off guard that he had nothing to offer. His mind had gone blank.
What is wrong with this guy?!
And then I remembered I just emerged from my hiding place in a dark laundry room.
Without warning, it smacked me right in my socially awkward face: We’re perfect for one another.
If it’s acceptable for people to hang No Soliciting signs on their doors, then I’m going to hang something like this for strangers, so they’re prepared for what’s inside. I’ll move the arrow throughout the day:
Voila! No explanations necessary. No need to hide in the laundry room…yeah right.