The Isolator

Oh drat,

What do you do when you’re wearing an Isolator, and you feel hungry? And there’s a family sized motherlode of children under 15 sitting on the carpeted floor of your study? And all the adults are in the next room sipping bourbon and discussing Churchill?

The only logical course of action would be to ignore the rumble shaking up your digestive tract and continue writing. After all, this WAS your idea.

Oh, I’ll take the children, you said.

What do you mean I’m being anti-social? you said.

Isolation? Depression? you said.

Fine. I’ll host a party, you said.

But don’t expect me not to be writing that night, you said, as you nearly swept your tumbler of scotch off your desk.

I rolled my eyes.

And here we are, watching children we see but once a year, and you try to ignore the one thing that can cause you to actually interact with people. You hunch over your desk, but your mind can only focus on the large ham you know to be on the other side of the wall…

Felix! My darling, will you get your uncle a little bit of food from the parlor?

I thought you said no food in the study–

26 ears perked up. I watched in near-delight as you visibly squirmed, even behind that ridiculous metal pot you were wearing on your head.

Well, this is the exception.

Felix came back with a plate heaping full of vegetables and a small helping of ham. You look none too pleased, but the hunger is winning over.

Thank you Felix. Now scram.

Scowly-faced, Felix went to look out the snowy window, presumably to daydream about how to poison his uncle in his sleep and not get caught. I stroke his hair.

Ahh, now where was I! You set your plate down carefully, pushing papers aside to make room on the scratched up cherry. What was once my favorite place to sit and watch you work your magic is now obscured by heaps and heaps of white, and I swear you spend more time with Ol’ Cherry than with me.

But I don’t want to be the nagging wife, so I don’t say anything. Instead, I watch as you struggle to take the Isolator off your shoulders. I chuckle.

Della? A little help here?

I pretend not to hear. The children play on, oblivious.

You struggle some more. I chuckle some more. This seems to be an emerging theme in our bedroom.

Slowly but surely, the children notice the scene at the desk. They see their once-favorite uncle and former co-conspirator struggling with a heavy metal cast-iron skillet wrapped around his face, stuck, and all pangs of loyalty come flooding back. Eventually the Isolator comes off and you slump over your desk, heaving.

I give the children a wink. They know what to do.

Uncle, can we go play in your herb garden?


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