"So," Chad said, staring around the living room, "how are you?"
I looked around the room, seeing what he saw. Piles of books lined the floor by the couch. More books were visible stacked in my bedroom - on the bed, on the nightstand, on the floor. I sat on the couch in light weight cargo pants and a tank. The kitchen sink was piled with dishes. The kids sat among their own piles of books.
He raised his eyebrows and walked into the kitchen, loading the dishwasher.
"You don't have to do that," I called to him.
"It's driving me crazy."
"It's not your house," I reminded him gently.
"I know." He continued to empty the sink into the dishwasher. Feeling guilty I stood up and walked into the kitchen, putting away the mason jars of dried fruit the kids and I had been snacking on.
"Take twenty out of my wallet and order pizza for you and the kids," Chad said, as he lined up the glasses in the top rack.
"It's fine. We're having a smorgasbord tonight."
"It's too hot to cook," I said.
"How many have you read?"
I glanced away, guilty. "Fifteen."
"A week or so," I confessed.
"And before that?"
"Maybe ten," I mumbled, noticing the pink polish on my right big toe nail needed a touch up.
"You don't have to take care of me," I said gently. "That's not your job anymore. I can take care of myself just fine."
"The kids are fine."
"Thanks for stopping by though."
"Yeah." I knew he wanted to say more. Even after a year apart, he still knows me and what makes me tick. And he knows when my house is filled with books, when I start chain reading, picking up one book as soon as I finish another, I'm stressed beyond my ability to cope.
Some people drink.
Some people run.
Some people smoke.
11 hours ago