“Just try and make all this gear work.” – Random Rab
“The Rather Odd Way We Work”
Fiction. Based on a True Early Morning Occurrence.
by Suzanna T.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
I start with the twin mattress first. My dad’s truck is so tall that I must fold my knee up to my chest to get in. Ergonomics aside, the mattress itself is no problem. I balanced it on top of my head and held it steady with stretched arms. I don’t need him. I can do things myself. Up the porch stairs, I leaned it sideways through the door, then pushed it across the hardwood floor into the room the girls would share once the lighting was fixed.
“We’re early,” I tell my three children. “Y’all can go to bed.” They scurry off into my son’s room that they had been forced to share for the time being. It is 5 am. Still dark outside. I’d spent the weekend at my parents’ house three cities over. Besides helping fix a few things, my time was spent visiting the sick and shut in around my old community. I’m exhausted.
Making sure the kids are tucked in tight, I turn out the lights and turn on the electric heaters. The furnace isn’t working and it’s cold, so cold; thirty-one degrees to be exact. Back outside I wonder how to get the full-sized mattress inside. I can’t hold that on top of my head. I’ll break my neck for sure.
Where is he? He said he’d come by to help. That was twenty minutes ago. I am so tired of waiting on him. It seems I’ve wasted the best years of my life waiting on him. Setting the mattress on my foot, I hold it with stretched arms and hop up the porch stairs and lay it sideways to get it into the door. The hump at the entrance is a problem for the bigger mattress. I didn’t even notice it with the smaller one. I struggle with it physically and mentally as his car slides down the driveway.
Now I’ve got to get it inside. My pride depends on it. I yank the mattress hard one last time and it falls through the door. I close the door behind me, not to be rude, but it’s so cold. He slams the gate to my dad’s truck on the way in. I hear his frustration as I slide the full-size into the girl’s room. He comes inside and locks the door. “Hey,” he grumbles.
“Hey,” I whisper back. He goes to the thermostat and plays with it, tries to fix it, says something that I don’t understand or don’t want to. I go to my room, remove my shoes and bury myself under the covers on the bed. His steps fall silent as he enters the carpeted floor of my son’s room where all the kids are. He chuckles, no doubt laughing at how quickly they’ve fallen asleep.
His footsteps echo as they return to the hardwood and travel to the opposite side of the house. He comes into my room. I suspect he’ll be leaving now, but he doesn’t. He takes off his coat and shoes but leaves on his clothes and climbs into bed behind me. It’s so cold. Putting one arm around my waist he tells me what to do again. “Tonight, y’all come to my house. It’s too cold in here.”
“Okay,” I reply as his body warms me in a non-sexual way. It’s so cold.
“Why didn’t you let me help with the mattresses?”
“I waited on you,” I snapped.
“What? Twenty Minutes?” I don’t respond. “It’s more than a ten-minute drive over here, and then there are traffic lights honey.” He has a point. “And I’ll take the kids to school today. I know you’re tired. You just worry about getting to work on time.” I roll over and lay my head on his chest. “Stop trippin’,” he says then kisses my forehead. “And let me help you sometimes.” We have such an odd way of working together.