The chuck on the drill driver is broken, and I lose a bit down along the side of the house. Sorry sorry I say, sorry. It’s okay babe, I have more, and the damn thing is broken.
We work together to reinforce the deck and replace two boards broken from falling ice. We discuss using metal work to create the slats, I hand him boards, he asks if I am comfortable with the saw, no I say. Right answer he says, not a mocking word about being an independent woman, not a derisive put down about being stupid. Just okay, no problem. No arguing.
We sit with our beers in the breezy warm afternoon, shade keeping the warm away, wind keeping the bugs away. I like working with you, I say, we are a good team.
It is not just that we are actually working TOGETHER, we joke and laugh and tease and do well together.
I like this I tell him. this peace, he laughs and says we are getting too old to not have peace. I put my legs up on his lap, self conscious because they are huge, bruised, covered with bug bites. A massage therapist once told my ex husband that my calves to my ankles were not slender. I am not sure why he felt he should say anything to my ex, but it was a criticism of not being feminine and delicate enough. Sorry about my giant legs I say, if they are too heavy let me know. I like your legs, he says, they are like a Polish peasant’s legs, the legs of a hard working woman, from a long line of hard working women.
I dream of my ex, insulting my mother, in the dream I tell him he can say whatever he wants to me, but he better keep his damn mouth shut about my mom. He runs away inside his house, and I taunt him telling him to come outside if he wants to start shit with me, he comes out and we start to fight, he kicks half heartedly and ineffectually swings his arms at me. He walks away. I ask him what is it like spending nearly 20 years of his life living off the financial support of single mothers. I ask him if he is proud of using women and their little girls in this way? He ignores me. I wake in a cold sweat, shaking, angry and really sad.
I wrap my arms around Marley, and lay awake for a long time. Why do I still dream about him, all I want to do is forget.
I roll over and wrap my arm around Tom and kiss his bare back. He says MMM. I fall asleep.