The goo from the sink must have been building up for a long time to be in the state it was. It had dripped so long, I figured I had just never noticed when it stopped. Andit must have stopped a very long time ago.
Out of curiousity, and figuring someone had to clean out the thing,I went to my Grandpas's old red toolbox. The screw drivers were always at the top, and whenever I used something I put it back exactly where it came from, I grabbed the oldest, most worn flat headed screwdriver that I could find and returned to the sink, My plan was to pry out the goop and free up the faucet.
Rather then the toothpast type gel I was expecting, the goo was as hard as a rock. I chiselled away at it but was more surprised at the durability this brown remnant of rusty slime presented. It was the colour of a fudgescicle with the tenacity of hard plastic. Bewildered, I struck hard upon it with the end of the screwdriver, only to have the tool glance off, without leaving so much of a chip.
I had been home from college for less than a week, visiting the parents for a home vacation. It seemed strange that they'd let this drip get so far. Dad was no handyman and he was more than happy to let that old drip keep on dripping, but Mom would have been on him about this.
Curiousity got the best of me, so I ran upstairs to get my lighter. I was already anticipating the smell such a substance would produce when melted but I had to see if it was as gross as I suspected. Besides, if I freed up the sink, a minor smell would seek no provocation. Dad would be more than grateful.
I kept my lighter upstairs in my packsack. Mom and Dad both knew I smoked. I know they did. Mom wouldmake comments about the smell of my clothers and I would tell her about being in a smoke filled bar with Jim, who smoked. Mom would say "Uh huh" and Dad would just return to his paper. It was an uncomfortable awkward. I didn't tell. They didn't outright ask. They didn't approve. I was hooked on cigarettes. And that was where that was.
Mom was right where I had last seen her, curled up on the couch, her back to me, covered in the quilt that Grandma had made us for Christmas. It was the last gift that she had given us so Mom made a point to use it whenever she could. I tiptoed past her, so she could sleep.
Dad, who was last in the kitchen, trying to replace some tiles on the counter, was no where to be found.
I looked outside the kitchen window. It was a steaming summer noon with the Sun poised right above me. I squinted out to the driveway where I saw Dad tucked under their Dodge Caravan. Typical Dad. Frustrated at the progress with the tiles, he would have moved on to another project. It looked like he was chaging the oil. I laughed and made my way past the rubber plants that hugged the foyer, and out the front door.
"Dad, get tired of the tiles already?", I teased.
Dad didn't respond.
"Hey, Dad!", I repeated, only louder, "Get tired of the tiles?"
I'm teling you. I was more surprised than you are. Dad didn't have a hearing problem. The mailman didn't have a problem walking. The car stopped dead in the middle of a turn at the intersection of Wood and Spruce didn't look broken down. The guy driving it, on his cell phone didn't look like he was doing performance art. But there they were. No one moved.
The mailman, across the road, had his hand stuck in the Miller's mailbox and wasn't pulling it out. He wasn't moving at all. I looked under the van. Dad, his head tilted towards the oil filter, had his arm poised to turn a wrench, but he wasn't turning it. Dad wasn't moving at all. The car seemed to be the strangest of all. It was rounding the corner, but it too had stopped moving. Its plume of exhaust stood erect, in midair like a cartoon train in freeze frame.
But what was indeed strangest of all was the cat on the sidewalk. The cat on the sidewalk was not on the sidewalk. It was above the sidewalk, looking to be headed toward a nice descent, yet, floating. Stuck. Teeth bared, claws flaling, tail down. Stuck. The bird directly underneath it would have been a goner for sure, if and how, the cat, actually landed.
Yes. This was very surprising. More surprising than you could possibly imagine. Again, Listen. I cannot say it enough, I am more surprised than you. I smashed the watch and I stopped time.