After Peter left for the high school bus, there were a few delicious minutes when we would sit together. It was our quiet time. The Wall Street Journal lay open on the table. John had learned to read it flat after I had complained that I couldn’t see his face when he held it up. I worked on the crossword, stopping to ask if he knew an eight-letter word for restrained. He scratched his eyebrow. From the kitchen table, we could see the thistle feeder where the goldfinches waited their turn for a perch. I started a list for the market. Did we need eggs? I had found a new recipe for chicken with roasted red peppers. Chicken again? I had to take Pete for driver’s Ed this afternoon. Maybe this weekend we would finally plant the mountain laurel. He took a last sip of tea and gathered his work papers, kissing the top of my head. I watched him back out of the driveway, then stacked the dishes in the sink and checked my watch, the pace of the day beginning to change. If he were here today, I would have made a glorious steak dinner. Not chicken again.