Sometime in the evening, in that warm, fuzzy stretch of time when your stomach weighs heavy on your hips and the orange sunset is all burnt out, you hear your parents sing. And the sound is foreign at first, because your parents are about bickering, teasing, and scolding, not singing. They are about raising three successful kids and paying off the mortgage and pushing lunchboxes into tiny hands. Which is why you forgot: at some point in time, maybe when a dark sky was giving way to tiny peels of orange, they were young, unmarried, and in love–and they weren’t your parents then. They were just two people. And maybe they used to sing.
You’re doing homework–three successful children, remember–when the music starts, something scratchy off the Internet. Soft piano with a chorus of violins. Then your dad starts singing, low and muted through the study door, his voice filled with the rusty cadence of someone who has not sung in ages. Your mother laughs, and your spine tingles with some strange feeling–warm, cold, and ticklish–because you can see them in your head: the flickering light of the TV casting a glow on their grinning faces, a man and a woman swaying on unsteady feet in the living room. And when Mom starts singing, forming a wobbly duet, you smile. Because although your parents are off-key and painfully out of tune, they sound happy–and you wouldn’t trade that sound for the world.