Starting early Sunday afternoon, my husband and I found ourselves with no children for the next 24 hours.
Okay, so not really. But we did have ourselves some typical date-time fun: movie and dinner out.
Except the movie wasn’t exactly fun.
We went to see 12 Years a Slave.
Actually, I forced my husband to see it. He fussed and whimpered and begged off due to emotional sensitivities. But the other options—Gravity, Captain Phillips, Nebraska—weren’t playing at the right times or places or weren’t out yet, and the ones my husband wanted to see—Ender’s Game, the latest Hunger Game one—weren’t my cup of tea, and I certainly didn't want to see any of the other drivel-slash-fluff that was showing (not that I actually noticed what else was showing...). If I’m going to drop twenty-two bucks on a movie, I want it to be beautifully done, well-acted, and enlightening. A girl's gotta have standards.
12 Years a Slave was all that and more: thoughtful, harrowing, engrossing.
*I shivered the whole way through.
*I spent about four percent of the total viewing time staring at my lap or the backs of my eyelids.
*I plugged my ears twice.
*I didn’t smile or laugh. Not once.
*I did not cry.
*My husband and I couldn’t talk for several minutes afterwards.
*I highly recommend it.
They say this movie is unusual in that it's about slavery. Before I went to see it, I didn't get that. Because I've seen lots of movies that have bits of slavery in them—Civil War stuff, the underground railroad, etc. But now I get what they mean, and they are right. I've never seen a movie all about slavery from the inside of slavery. Watch it. It's worth the big bucks. (My husband isn't mad at me for making him watch it.)
Anyway, then we went out for drinks and supper.
Me: baked goat cheese with warm—and incredibly soft and chewy—pita wedges and a margarita.
Him: an enormous cheese and bacon burger, house chips, and root beer.
Back home, we sat down in front of the fire. The heat made my bones melt into puddles. I didn’t want to move.
The house was so quiet.
And then I murmured, “Let’s sleep in front of the fire tonight.”
My husband smiled. “We could bring down the kids’ mattress...”
We hesitated. Dragging down a mattress, blankets, and pillows would mean a bothersome morning clean-up. Sleeping in our regular bed in our regular room like regular people on a regular night would be so much easier.
“We should do it,” I announced, pushing myself up off the couch. “Do something different. Break out of our comfort zones. Not be such sticks-in-the-mud.” (Which is funny because we just came back from a wild, let’s-live-in-another-country adventure. How is it that something as simple as sleeping downstairs instead of up can be a shake-‘em-up exercise while nine months in Guatemala is just par for the course? I don’t understand myself.)
We ended up hauling down the mattress (and, in the process, discovering that there was a colony of stink bugs living between my son's mattress and box springs—we vacuumed up right around three dozen—go look under your mattress). You’d think we’d have been toasty-oasty all night by the fire, but we slept so hard that the fire was almost completely out, come morning, and the house was an invigorating 58 degrees.