Zoe was washing the dishes. There were a lot, from her friends coming over for dinner. She was a single mother and she had friends, so things were good. At least she was not a single human being without a role.
First, she washed the glasses. Then dried them to make room for the plates. Then the bowls. She left the cutlery for last. They were all going to be sparkly clean.
Zack was writing a report on a poem for school at the kitchen table. The poem was about a page long, three stanzas, but he was taking the whole afternoon to do it. She could see him read the poem, then write some, then read the poem again, write some more. Sometimes, he would read from a diffetent book or check something on her laptop, then read the poem again. Sometimes he would get up from the table, look out the window for a little bit, then get back to it. He took a break to have dinner with all of them.
The dishes were done. She was sleepy. She turned to him.
“You’ve been at it what? Three, four hours?”
He was focused, barely put any thought into the answer. He was frowning over his papers, writing intensely. “I’m almost done. Don’t wait up.”
He was old enough, she could leave him to it. Did not make sense to enforce bedtime on a night like this. She went to sleep, but the world kept on.