“Did you mop the floor yet?”
Sandra glanced up from her paper, spectacles perched low on her nose, about to pass judgment like a learned jurist.
“Yes, that’ll do,” she said.
She stuck out her lips unnaturally after she said this, and fine lines appeared around her eyes. She was suppressing a large grin because she didn’t want to tell Billy the truth: the floor was clean enough to see her reflection on it. And she was none too pleased about the wrinkles she saw.
“Alright,” she said while wearing a poker face, “you can go play video games.”
Billy’s eyes lit up and, unlike his mom, a smile overtook his face. His smile was as impressive as a bright display of fireworks.
“Wait!” She raised her eyebrows and her round eyes grew as large as an owl’s. She had to ensure he deserved this game time.
“Did you also clean the living room?”
Billy, undaunted by this inquisition, wore his smile as he pushed open — and held — the swinging door to reveal the living room.
Sandra saw a veritable sultan’s tent: neatly arranged and colorful pillows, the smell of foreign and pleasant spices, and a large bowl full of grapes on the coffee table. The dam she had constructed around her mouth collapsed. Her smile burst forth and flooded the room with warmth.
“Ok Billy,” she said, “you can go play.”
Billy let go of the door and, in a flash, was already playing his game.
What happened next happened in an instant, but time seemed to slow down for Sandra. The swinging door swung back and forth four times before it closed. Each swing gave Sandra a different glimpse into the room’s fluid state.
The door swung back and forth the first time. She saw the living room pillows tossed around carelessly in some kind of a messy salad. The door swung back and forth a second time. She saw socks twirling around on the ceiling fan at hyper speed. The door swung back and forth a third time. She saw greasy pizza boxes littered the coffee table. The door swung back and forth a fourth time. The grapes were scattered on the floor and had turned into wine from constant stomping. The door finally closed.
Steam came out of Sandra’s ears, she clenched her fist and shook it in the air.
“Ugh! Video Games!”