Monday, October 23, 2006

One Year Ago Today

The weather suddenly turning cold always makes me nostalgic. I read somewhere that people who are grieving often have sudden bouts of acute sadness during season changes. Our memories are so often triggered by feelings and smells that at the season change, we are suddenly bombarded with memories of the year before.

I keep feeling as if this fall is an anomaly--has there ever been fall in Wilmington in the six years I've lived here? Don't we always go directly from flip-flops to winter coats? And yet, last year, when we were moving into this house, I can distinctly remember being cold, in fact wearing my winter coat, while we hauled our stuff around.

A fine day, our moving day last year. Rainy and freezing. Thomas and I were shuttling things that we really wanted to move by hand from house to house in his truck: the records, some glassware, etc. Around 6 o'clock, both of us exhausted from working a full day and then moving, and sick of driving around in the rain, we decided to give up for the night. I went inside to call my friend Jenn (we were going to borrow her truck that evening) to let her know that we were going to quit after all, when suddenly, the most deafening boom I have ever heard shook the house. My first thought was: earthquake. My second thought was: terrorist attack. Everything was moving. I screamed, "What the FUCK was that?!" into Jenn's voicemail and hung up.

I looked at Thomas. He looked grave. He said, "I know exactly what that was," turned and walked out the front door. "What?" I said. "What???"

I walked out to see that his truck had rolled down the hill and smashed into the side of our (soon-to-be-ex) rental house.

It's times like these when you really get a good sense of whether or not your marriage is going to make it in the long term. These are the moments you didn't count on when you said, "for better or for worse," and this was the first moment of real disaster since we'd been together.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it before, but Thomas is a total neat-freak. He can't leave the house without wiping down the counters and doing some last minute vaccumming. And he's particularly particular about the car. So although I could tell that the car probably wasn't totalled, I knew immediately that his brain was about to explode. DAMAGE!! TO THE CAR!! AND THE HOUSE!! AT ONCE!!

I didn't know what to do or say. I knew that if it were me, I probably would not want to be touched or consolled, so I sprang into "let's get the car off the house" mode. Together we pushed it up the hill and began to survey the damage.

Damn, were we lucky. The car came within an inch of shearing the electrical box right off the side of the house. As it was, the cover was torn off, but we were able to replace that easily. Thomas's truck lost a headlight and part of the front bumper and had a pretty hefty gouge running down the whole right side of the car. Also, some minor crunching.

At that point, our kindly neighbor Doug came over to see what happened. Thomas hissed at me through his clenched teeth, "Not now. NOT now."
"Okay," I said. "Okay, okay," and summarily led Doug away.

We stood out in the rain for about 45 minutes until Thomas could speak again. Then I was able to put my arms around him and we stood there for a while longer, holding each other beside the wreckage, and I knew my marriage had legs.


Anonymous said...

This... did not happen. I cannot wrap my mind around it.

And yet, it is one of the most strangely romantic stories I have ever read! Not that I want Ben's truck to crash into our house, though...

mendacious said...

romantic.and no one died tragically. bravo.

penelope said...

I couldn't help it, this story made me laugh. It really is fantastic, one to tell the grandkids for sure.