Sunday, March 23, 2014

Discovery

The husband chooses to spend his Sunday
searching for wreckage from years ago.
The wreck of a wife he has spends her Sunday
wondering why she settles for being left alone.

She can't tell the kids. One of them would not
care, one would worry too much, and one
is just indifferent to the parental drift. The wife
decides to make a beef stew, carefully chops

celery, carrots, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs.
She isn't thinking of the husband much, more
of his elderly mother who will lavish the meal,
lick her lips in gratitude. The wife doesn't know

the husband is out joy-hunting for his lost youth.
She only finds out later, after cooking the meal,
doing three loads of laundry, sweeping dog fur
and beer caps from the kitchen floor, and walking

around in a funk all day, about the fun he had. He
shows her the picture of the car bumper found
in a ditch, laughs uproariously as he tells the story
of the friend who ditched the car after he lost a race

at some small town speedway. The wife just nods
her head and says: So, this is what you did today?
A look of subterfuge clouds his atypically young-looking
59 year old face (the face having been burned

in an accident many years ago which resulted
in what the plastic surgeon said was much like
a surgical peel, the wife the one who tended
to him and made sure he took care of himself

and who made sure he took his meds), and says
"Well, I was just there about an hour. I was working
the rest of the day." The wife knows she has lost
this whole thing--marriage, her once lovely figure,

her young face, her wit, her ability to amuse. She
can do nothing but say, "Really? You were out
today looking for a wrecked car someone chose
to throw in a ditch?" She knows the husband will

never know how she has suffered, what she has fought
for and against, how much ground she loses every
day in her struggle to find some meaning, how much
she really cared about whether the beef stew was meaty

and rich, the taste of fresh herbs invigorating.