Storytelling

Blood in the House and the Natural System of the Universe

Our house has been busy, lately, and we found blood splattered across the floor near the front door, leading across the carpet and into the kitchen as if someone had been cut and was bleeding while making their way through the house.

Obviously, this was disturbing.

The mystery was heightened because our adult children are both living at home. We don't know exactly what they're doing at any given moment.

To digress for a moment, having adult children in the house is fun, really, but not quite how we thought things would be.

I'm not being judgmental when I say, "…how we thought things would be." I had been going on the assumption that circumstances would pull them away from us. Instead, circumstances kept them close.

Allow me to digress just a bit more.

I study Stoic philosophy, and one of its tenets is that we must submit to the natural order of things. Stoicism does not promote the idea of a God or gods, but neither does it preclude them. It is based on embracing rational thought, and dealing with the circumstances you are presented with.

Stoicism also embraces the fact that the natural order of the world — nature, governments and people — can mess with you in ways you never imagined.

For example, my wife dropped a jar of marinara sauce the other day in the kitchen and the jar's lid blew off. The splatter of spaghetti sauce went through the mouse hole I cut in the door to our basement and splattered the stairwell wall. Instead of working on my novel the next hour, I was scrubbing the wall. Something in the natural system of the world presented me with circumstances I had to deal with.

The blood appeared the next day. We thought it might be the dogs, and checked their paws very carefully (no cuts!). The cats were similarly checked and showed no signs of bleeding.

We asked both kids, and no one knew how blood could have been brought in through the front door.

I got a bucket and began scrubbing the blood. I worked from the entrance to kitchen, and noticed the trail continued across the kitchen. Because of the color of the kitchen tile, it was difficult to see the blood, but I kept my face low and cleaned it up.

The trail led me back to the door to the basement, the one with the mouse hole cut in it. Then it hit me: it wasn't blood, but spaghetti sauce. One of the dogs had stepped in the mess while I was getting a bucket to clean the spill.

The dog tracked the spaghetti sauce through the kitchen and towards the front door. We, however, didn't notice for two days. In the meantime, I forgot about the spilled spaghetti sauce, and jumped to the conclusion that blood was in the house.

It bears repeating: no animals were injured when my wife spilled spaghetti sauce.