Bug builds a nest by the sliding glass door. A foam mattress from his old bunk bed serves as a wall. He hauls in a heap of blankets and a camp chair. “Dogs and kids only,” he tells me. He fits a bag of soil into the nook by the wall to block the entrance.
Nestled in under a table, he listens to an audio book whose plot I can’t follow. Islands, magic, a group of children, danger. Noodle is splayed out in the sun next to him on an old Oklahoma Sooners blanket.
I replace the busted bike tire and air up the tube. One load of laundry whirls in the dryer while another hangs in the sunlight on a rack in my bedroom. The pots and pans are done, but the breakfast dishes haven’t made their way into the dishwasher yet. That’s Bug’s job. He can tackle it later.
The tea kettle gurgles. I pour steaming water over tea bags. Decaffeinated black tea for Bug, Bengal Spice for me. I dig through the recycling for the two old egg cartons. The packets of new seeds are waiting. Perennials this time.
Bug acknowledges neither the milky tea I slip into his clubhouse nor the the basket of pencils and markers. He pretends not to notice when I sneak off with the sack of soil.
Splayed on the kitchen floor, I rip the tops off the cartons and use a sharpie to mark the sides. Thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage. Each tiny seed falls into an almost invisible divot in the dirt. Dormant, they nestle in under a thin blanket of soil. I soak each pocket with a soft drizzle from the sink sprayer. The cartons sag until I fit them into their inverted lids.
The sunlight slices a long triangle into the table by the sliding door. I step up on a chair and stretch over the mattress wall. A swath of Bug’s blonde head peeks out from under the table. He’s leaning back in the camp chair using a marker to draw a battle scene with towers and little people dropping rocks on their enemies. He’s painted his fingernails purple. Noodle’s eyes twitch towards me but she only sighs and closes them again.
I slide the seeds into the sun next to the snap peas and spinach, their first threads already climbing towards the light.