“God damn, it! The (expletive) faucet is broken again! Can't you...”
“I told you I'd fix it! HANG ON, damn it!”
“Don't you roll your eyes at ME, or I'll make sure you'll be eating with the pets!”
Grabbing his tools, he trudged off to the bathroom, again, to fix the tub faucet,
. Crap! Why did he feel bad for yelling at her!? 'I mean, c'mon- SHE started it! If she didn't crank the friggin' handle down so hard, it wouldn't need it's washers changed every other week! And is this thing that archaic measuring system, or did he already change it over to metric!?' Damned if he could remember.
“Is the water turned off?”
“Yes, daddy! Mommy got it!” a little voice called from behind him. He turned around to see his son Sam peering into his toolbox. “Can I help?”
Trying to explain what tools are what to a child, is slightly less difficult, and less painful, than trying to explain quantum physics to a retarded walrus. After what felt like an eternity, but was only a mere five minutes, his son finally managed to hand him the right tool. Placing the wrench onto the stem of the faucet, he cranked it once and... something broke.
“AUGH!!! GOD DAMN IT, WOMAN!!! I thought you turned the water off!”
“I DID TURN IT OFF,” he heard her scream from the other room. “I TURNED IT ALL THE WAY TO THE RIGHT, LIKE YOU TOLD ME!!!”
“WELL TURN IT ALL THE WAY TO YOUR OTHER RIGHT, THEN!!!” He tried in vain to stop the water from spraying all over the bathroom with his hands, but he only succeeded in getting himself and his son sopping wet. When the water finally stopped spraying, everything in the bathroom was a total mess. He slumped his shoulders, knowing he just bought himself another trip to 'Crabbyland' with his wife- not to mention another trip to the home improvement store. Wall paper was sopping, and already loosening off the walls. The curtains were sprayed with nasty, rusty water- they would have to be thrown out. 'Aw damn it, she's gonna KILL me', he thought. He heard a slight sound behind him, and against his better judgment, turned around...
There, crammed in the doorway, were his children, all peeking in and giggling. Worse yet, was his wife, who most definitely was not giggling. Arms akimbo, and a scowl on her face, she glared at the children, who all scattered from their presence. After what felt like an eternity in Hell...
“Why don't you call a plumber?” she finally said. “You know I'm pissed at you, but I'd be a lot less angry with you if you would have just admitted you couldn't fix it.”
She hands him a dry towel, and then the phone.
“So, you still love me, right?” he asked sheepishly.
“Oh, Lord” she face palmed. “Of course I still love you. It's just sometimes, well you can be so... so... difficult!”
“So, you still love me!”
“Yeah, yeah I do... although you really do push that 'for better for worse' part of our vows!” she giggled.
The scene fades away, and was replaced with a hospital bed. He tried to wake up- he knew what was coming...
“Oh God, honey- we lost another one! Oh gaaaawd!” She grabbed him by his jacket and bawled her eye out. Why? Why was he reliving this one? Having lost two children was one of the most painful things he ever experienced. She was so depressed. It took him over a month to pull her back. She couldn't even look at their children the same way as she did before. Worse, was how the kids reacted. They were all excited about how a baby was coming to live with them. When they found out that a baby wasn't coming, and why... the home was a very mournful place, indeed. It's funny to think though, having lost two of their own, led them to adopting six children from the very orphanage she lived in. As painful as it was, it wound up having a beautiful ending.
Another memory came in, banishing the previous one. There they were, heads in hands, wondering if what they were seeing was true. The math didn't lie. By this time, they had ten children total, and quite a respectable grocery bill. Neither one of them had what would be called a 'stellar' job. Bills were piling up- medical bills, utilities, transportation, and of course, the food. When she found out about the maxed out credit cards, the crap really hit the fan. Asking for a raise from their boss was down right asinine- the answer was always no. Now that the old man was dead, his 'son' took over the business, and didn't care about anything but making a quick buck. He was going to sell the company and screw over all the employees. It was then that they thought up their only option- buy the company themselves. They could cut corners, and pay themselves more- well, at least enough to pay the bills. Tightening their belts, they applied for a business loan. They were pleasantly shocked when they were approved. They then became the not so proud owners of a run down delivery company.
Just when he remembered how within a few years they 'pulled off the gamble of the century' (according to 'The New Wall Street Journal'), no money was enough to get rid of the illnesses of the following years. Slowly a bedroom came into focus. This room was for close to three years known as 'the sick room', for all the children who were more or less quarantined in it. While they were becoming more financially stable, their health took a beating. It was then his wife had decided to take a leave of absence to home school their children. It was a slow process, as mostly they slept their sickness away, but it did pay off. If nothing else, they all went to college... and he actually learned enough listening in to finally get his G.E.D., and learn German. Well, he could order a beer, and ask where the bathroom was, but he could speak something other than English!
Slowly, one by one, he sees the children get up out of bed, whole and well again. They are then seen playing blernsball, soccer, and basketball. A couple of them took weekend classes at the local pubic school on the topic of Government, while one of their boys had an unholy love of anything fast. He wound up taking driving classes a year earlier than everyone else, and ended up crashing his ship and being the first of the children to end up in a hospital I.C.U. He remembered telling his wife that HE never did anything like that- it HAD to be her side! He also remembered she refused to talk to him until their boy was better and back home because of it. Why did it take him so blasted long to mature? Looking back, he realized he wasn't just hurting himself, he had hurt her too. Yet she stayed with him... maybe that is why he loves her so- because she loved him just as much. He then decided this was why he does everything he does for her.
For a while, the years flew before his eyes in a blur. He saw kids born, kids move out, get married, and start families of their own. He saw them building their dream home- one of the happiest days of their marriage! If not because of a brand new house, then for seeing the piece of crap they had lived in for years meet the wrecking ball! He also saw his family prosper in leaps and bounds. His beloved wife gaining incredible prominence and power. His children well respected members of the community, and even himself becoming a well known and greatly respected man of business. He wished he could have stopped his dream here, but we are not masters of dreams, they are masters of us...
Something was wrong. He glanced over at her, questioning. She had a puzzled look on her face. He had asked her a simple question three times now, and not only did she have difficulty answering, she gave a weird, and different reply each time. He asked her if she wanted to go to the doctor to get a check up, but she refused. (Oh God! Why didn't he push her?) She simply shook her head to clear her thoughts, smiled at him, apologizing for the confusion, and said she was O.K. now. She was fine for the rest of the day, but the next day, and the next, he noticed little things... things that were... different about her. Soon she was forgetting their children's names. She misplaced things, and accused him of stealing them from her. When she started crying because she forgot his name, he knew it was bad. He would remind her time and again. By this time, it was too late- there was nothing medicine or science could do. The long, slow decent had begun.
After a few months of trying to take care of her on his own, he had hired a nurse to take care of her at home. He had to admit that by this time, he was just too old to go at this on his own. A few months after that, the nurse had talked their children into getting him to place her into a home. While he was hurt, and pissed off that this was done behind his back, he had reluctantly agreed this was for the best. He made sure she was put into the best home on the planet. He cried tears of joy when he found the home she would be placed in was only a few blocks from the home their love had built. He vowed she'd be visited every day. While he did have a few close calls, he never failed on that vow.
He looked back on their life together. It seemed they had more than their fair share of pain, yet somehow, things always turned out fine. He remembered an old saying that 'problems are irritating- they are like a grain of sand, and we are the oyster. While they cause great pain and grief, a pearl is formed.' looking back, he and his wife had a beautiful string to show off! His children were jewels in their crowns, and their grandchildren and great grandchildren were treasure beyond cost. As painful and troublesome as their life was... no, no he wouldn't dare change a thing.
He knew he was waking up, and envisioned his wife, asleep in bed next to him. He remembered why he loved her so. She was always there for him, no matter what he said, no matter what he did. Of course, he returned the favor. He wished he could remember the old song she used to sing to him- it described their love and marriage perfectly. He knew it went along the lines of 'after fighting and violent words, we make up. In times of joy and times of sorrow, we will see it through like old friends' and 'We will face this together'. Something like that... The simple melody played over and over in his head- he just couldn't remember the lyrics. They had more than their share of 'the worse', but he felt they had much more 'better'. He couldn't have done any of it without her. Together, they did it. All life's trials, heartaches, pain. It was nothing when compared to their love.
He wanted to sleep a little longer. To dream of her some more. He wanted to imagine her seeing the gift he gave her, and fussing over it. Odds are, she'd probably complain about it- about the extravagance of it. She'd point out that he spent way too much on it- more than they paid for their first home, mind you. He would whole-heartedly agree about the price, but explain to her that it paled in comparison to the value of his love for her. He would take her in her arms and dance the evening away with her. Run his fingers through her hair. Smell the sweetness of the scent of her skin. Taste her kisses. But this was not to be. He was waking up, and he was once again a feeble old man, and she, she was being destroyed by Alzheimer's. She was no longer the woman he once loved, but he loved her all the same. He didn't want to believe the truth right now- he decided to keep dreaming of her- whole and well.
He felt a gentle touch on his shoulder, and someone calling his name. Was it her? Could it be her? He wanted to believe it was, so he did. He called out to her in his sleep; not so much called her name, but more like he purred it, like a loving and content cat greeting it's owner. She still loved him. He knew it. It was her. It had to be her. She called his name again. This time, it was more urgent, yet not at all unkind. She was telling him he needed to wake up. Wake up- no, not now. Just five more minutes, he cooed to her. The hand on his shoulder gave a gentle shake, and he heard his name again... She had better have a good excuse to wake me he thought...