After reassuring Karen a dozen times that she was feeling completely better and would call again if she needed something, Maggie walked into her house alone. When the door clicked shut, a silence descended on the house. When was the last time her house was so quiet?
Maggie sank onto the couch. She had to figure this out. She wasn’t crazy. She had a family and now they were…somewhere. Karen had been right about the movie Freaky Friday. Maggie loved that movie. She also knew things like that didn’t happen in real life. Did they?
But then where was her family?
Maggie took another walk through her house. She lingered in Lily’s room. The quilt was beautiful. It was exactly what she would have chosen to quilt, the colors she loved. It was really beyond her skill level though to piece something that intricate. Maggie ran her fingers over the tiny even stitches. She picked up the needle and started to add more stitches.
The phone rang and startled Maggie out of her reverie. It was Karen. “Are you OK?” Karen asked.
“Fine,” Maggie said automatically.
“I was really worried about you this morning,” Karen said, “That was weird.”
“Yeah,” Maggie said, trying to laugh a little.
“Did you get some work done?” Karen asked.
“I quilted,” Maggie said.
“Oh,” Karen said, “That’s nice. I figured you’d probably be deep into some bookkeeping or something. So you had a pretty good Christmas season at the store?”
“Yes,” Karen said, “The Nest? The store you own? Seriously Maggie, are you OK?”
“I knew which store you meant,” Maggie lied with a feeble attempt at another laugh. “I’d better get going on my bookkeeping,” Maggie said, “Thanks for this morning, Karen.”
“No problem, the kids had a great time. You were amazing with them, like a pro. I should go too. I can’t even talk on the phone for two minutes without things falling apart around here. Braeden, stop shooting your sister with that NERF gun! Maggie, that gun was the worst mistake Santa ever made! OK, bye. I love you!”
“I love you, too,” Maggie echoed. She hung up the phone and listened more to silence. Karen’s house sounded alive on the other end of the phone. Her house was quiet and spotless.
She didn’t set up a Christmas tree? Many times Maggie had lamented the trouble involved with setting up a tree. What was the point? It just took up space and created work.
Now she missed the tree.
Maggie wandered into the kitchen and opened her refrigerator. It was in pristine condition. There was a half-gallon of milk, a few pieces of fruit, a few containers of yogurt. In the freezer, there was a stack of Lean Cuisine meals.
It was depressing. Maggie picked out a key lime yogurt and found a spoon in an impossibly tidy drawer and wandered to the living room. She sat on the sofa and flipped on the TV. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d sat down and mindlessly watched TV.
She hadn’t been missing much.
Maggie pushed the button that turned off the TV. “I said I wished they’d disappear for a day,” she said out loud. “A day. Maybe they’ll come back tomorrow.”
Maybe I really am crazy, she thought. “Now I’ve started talking to myself? What next?” she asked. No one answered.
To be continued...