35 years the ugly green carpet had gathered dust and dirt and grime. She hated it, just as the seven clocks he had put in the living room and the four TV’s blaring, glaring each a different game. A concession to her would be to turn off the noise. Guns and newspapers,stuff everywhere, not a nail, a bolt or a screw got ever thrown away. He had hoarded all his life till now he hoarded in his body the malignant cells of anger and overbearing harshness toward her. She was old and frail and her heart worn.
Never had she cooked what she liked,invited the children she preferred. He would buy and buy. 14 flyswatters lay around the house.
Of course she took care of him when the pain became excruciating. Gave him medication, fussed and wept for the impending loss. Was he afraid? He never spoke of it. The tyrant of years in him went on commanding, demanding, putting her down if she, with broken bones that were mending, was not fast enough. Four deep freezers he kept filled in every chamber of his heart. He was a hard and unattractive man. Since when. What had made him so.
When she could cope no longer with his care, the guilt teared her eyes, tore at her heart. Yet when it became evident he would not return home, she removed his chair from the dining table and drove her house wheelchair to that spot. “I should always have sat here. I can see the door, I can pick up the phone, I can look outside and watch the deer when they are drinking or feeding, or the quail with their covey of chicks.” It was indeed the best spot that had viciously been denied to her. She remembered some good times and forgave him. She remembered the bad times and removed the desk that had been in the way for her wheelchair for years now.
She spend almost all her time in the nursing home where he tried to run away, threw the food to the ground, shouted and screamed to go to his rightful place near her. He was angry for his pain, but signed the papers put before him. She planned what she would do after this was over, after the passing that was to come and the terrible immanence of freedom.
She buried him, tore out the carpet, put in clean, clear tile, sold the junkyard and three of the TV’s, got rid of two freezers,maybe three and of all the clocks. Nobody was going to bind her to his time again.
Hammers, tractors, drills, boats, saws, backhoes, years of newspapers and magazines, she made it go. The auction took a day and a half. Others like him buying, collecting, hoarding as a remedy against what? When she had purged herself from him, she painted the house slate gray with bright and cheery trim, shut of the wells and put in city water so that she need not pump and bend.
With courage Angela turned 77 and took her place as the mistress of her house and switched from Pepsi to Coca Cola.
Clowns from Amsterdam
6 years ago