Thursday, April 25, 2013

To the Rescue!

I don’t remember that we discussed it ahead of time; I think the spirit just moved me that warm autumn afternoon. The Boy had to be on campus for whatever reason doing grad-student-type things, so I grabbed my gardening gloves and headed into our wild, overgrown backyard with the rake. Now, you know me, fearless readers … I’m not much for voluntarily wandering out-of-doors for the heck of it or for doing manual labor. But there I was, raking to beat the band behind our rented brick house on a fall Saturday. I think I was raking at least two years’ worth of leaves and I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn I was battling a Gemino Curse.

The footprint of the backyard was as big as our house, but since The Boy’s not here to tell me what that translates to in real area and I am also not much for spatial relationships, I’m going to say I raked about 500 square feet that day. (I’ll find out what will probably turn out to be a wildly different truth and update my post accordingly when I see him next.) Time stood still as I chugged along. I was a machine—a sweat-soaked, beet-faced, pigtailed machine. A machine who was being watched. I wheeled around, the project nearly done after hours and hours of hard, dusty, scratchy, blistery work, to find The Boy outside the back-porch door. He was just standing there watching me with an enormous grin on his face and his head cocked ever-so-slightly. I’ll never forget how perfectly himself he was in that moment.

I grinned back. “What?”

“I’ve just never seen you work so hard,” he replied with amusement and bewilderment and quite a bit of pride in his voice.

Fair enough. We were newlyweds. He hasn’t ever seen me work so hard since, either, unless you count the huffing and puffing I do on “Easy to Moderate” hikes.

The Boy walked across the now-neat yard (I was so proud of that yard! I admired it through the window at the sink while washing dishes for weeks afterwards. The grass looked like it had been vacuumed, it was all so straight and neat and debris-free.) and kissed my damp radiator self. He gently freed the rake from my grip so he could take over the last, hardest part where the tree trunks closed ranks near the alley and the ivy vines started snatching at the tines—the part I always called “the little jungle.” He finished the project in what seemed like minutes and then put me in a nice hot bubble bath while he went to pick up Cook-Out milkshakes for us.

He also got poison oak.

I did not.

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