On the second day, I gave in to weeping.
I couldn’t help it.
It’s not as if I hadn’t wondered, often, how I would continue our way of life if he weren’t here.
Sometimes my imaginings took me down the path of wonder that brings one to the place of “the emotion aroused by something awe-inspiring, astounding, or marvelous.” Yes, in those daydreams I could do it all. Chop Wood, Carry Water and all that. Perhaps, in those dreams, I didn’t factor in the felling of trees, the repairing of plumbing, the seemingly endless tasks around this place that require digging, but I was still a badass. I might have even worn a cape.
More often than not, though, my thoughts would be trudging down the darker path, the one that leads to a doubt-laced curiosity. Could I handle it, I wondered? Animals, feathered and not; wet chores as well as the dry; subsistence farming and a full-time job; decent bonfires and car repairs?
No, not really.
Would everything fall apart around me?
When he called to tell me he was on his way to the emergency room and would likely be out of commission for a while, my first instinct was to panic. But…the piglets are coming, the garden extension isn’t tilled and we have 90 tomato and pepper plants waiting in the wings, and about three hundred other pressing man projects.
Man projects. I wondered, then, when did I start labeling homestead projects according to gender? How long has it been since we simply fell into roles we never meant to, and just blissed on through it until someone got broken?
He plans; I plant. I cook; he does the dishes.
He creates spaces, structures and systems; I maintain them.
I pay the bills; he avoids them. He takes care of the animals; I love on them.
I make art; he doesn’t because he’s too busy making sure our house doesn’t fall apart.
He does the dirty work; I tell him where it is. I snuggle; he reads the bedtime story.
On the second day, with his swollen appendage elevated and on ice, I thought about all the times I wondered what I would do if he weren’t around. The third time the ducks were in the garden that day when I was in the middle of trying to put out some other kind of fire, I wept and then…I stopped weeping.
No, nothing was going to fall apart around me.
He may be broken, but he’s here, and he can teach me, if I’m willing.
On the third day, I ran machines I was previously terrified of and found it to be an empowering experience. The next day, I gave an herbal remedy to the rooster with a sore throat. That was nothing after discovering the bloated chipmunk who had drowned in a bucket and realizing that I couldn’t pass that off to anyone but me. I do the dirty work for the next six weeks. Even if it involves maggots and trying not to puke while I slosh fermented rodent stew out to the woods for disposal.
Is there a cape for that?
And no, nothing is going to fall apart around me.
Re-posted from Literary Traces, as per usual.
This would be the reason there were no weekend updates to the shop. I’ll try to manage it in the next few days, but in the meantime, please enjoy a coupon: HIMANDME for 15% off anything in the shop.