By the time the police arrived, the aliens had already left and taken our furniture with them. At least that’s what I told the officer. The truth, of course, was a much different story, and I had lost much more that just chairs and sofas at last night’s poker game with a handful of my neighbor friends. I figured an actual police report would make the whole alien excuse legitimate enough for Kim to believe upon her return, even if advanced beings probably had no use on their spaceship for an ottoman that our cats had been using as a scratching post for the last fourteen years.
The cats, incidentally, are no longer duct-taped to the ceiling fan. They seemed agitated and hungry when I unwrapped the tape to set them free, and neither one appeared to recognize that I was the good guy for rescuing them as they wildly scrambled away for their own safety, using my body for a ladder of sorts. I have since bandaged both my arms, and the blood is clotting nicely. I was able to get the red stains out of the carpet with lots of vinegar.
Tomorrow my wife comes home to a house that will feel far different from the one she left just a week ago. For her the time has probably flown, as it tends to do when one is on vacation. The cats miss her terribly, but may or may not com out to greet her when she arrives. They are currently hiding somewhere, which is no easy thing considering the lack of furniture to hide behind. Jade, our bird, may be gone for good. The last I saw her she was hiding inside the fronds of an artificial palm tree, but that, too, was taken away by a neighbor as part of his winnings.
And so it goes. A house filled with the materialistic trappings of a working couple goes bare. They are good trappings, though – the kind that make you feel good about being home on a rainy day, or when it’s too cold and gray to go outside. But things alone only make up what’s in a house. It’s love and companionship and memories that create a home. In the absence of a loved one, an empty house is little more than a metaphor of the empty feeling of living in half a home. That’s why there is a need for diversions – something to temporarily fill the empty space, like all-night poker games and supposed alien encounters. Like nonsensical gypsies and waking up in the neighbor’s pool. Like late nights in the back porch with huge cigars.
Like making stuff up for a week or so, and using it to fill the void.