Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here and Gone Again

"It is unacceptable, all the stunned and anxious missing a person is asked to endure in life. It is not to be endured, not really."
~~Lorrie Moore

Hubby is working with a guy who recently bought six or seven properties around town--the best of which would be generously called dilapidated. They are planning to work together to repair these houses as rental units. There is one in particular Hubby sees great potential in and asked me to go with him to check it out as a possible rental for us once the renovations and repairs have been made.

Hubby has a significantly better imagination than I have and where I see only the daylight coming in from the outside in places where daylight should not come in and the daylight failing to come in in places where it should (windows covered with plywood), he sees nothing but possibilities. He can imagine the place freshly sealed, drywalled, painted while I can only imagine it collapsing down around our ears.

We were bickering about which of us was more realistic about exactly how much work (time, money, materials and so on) the place would require to be just livable, let alone comfortable, when I stepped out on to the raised deck outside the back door and my right leg promptly went through the rotted wood to about mid-thigh. My left ankle had twisted at a nasty angle with the sudden shift in weight and there was nothing nearby to grab on to for leverage so I was stuck there with one leg dangling until Hubby could pull me out of the deck.

In the thirty or forty seconds that I was stuck there lots of things were running through my head--at least one of them the obvious I-told-you-so potential of being moderately injured by a house I had just argued to Hubby was a deathtrap. But one of the things that went through my mind in those seconds was that something very similar had happened to my mother many years ago.

In 1985, when the family was packing up to leave our house in New Hampshire, my mother was carrying a box across the raised porch and her leg went through a weak spot. I wasn't there when it happened (having moved south ahead of my family partially in pursuit of Mr. High School) but I saw the resulting bruise--enormous and rainbow-colored--and could easily imagine where on the porch her leg had gone through. The weak spot had been there a while and we had been warned away from that end of the porch for the last six months we'd lived there.

So I was stuck there in the deck imagining my mother 24 years ago stuck in a similar fashion in a porch 400-some miles away and it occurred to me, not for the first time*, that the people who are gone from our lives come back to us in the oddest of ways.

*Here & here for example.


  1. Youngest Sister11/11/09, 8:32 AM

    As soon as you finished saying you had fallen through, I thought about Mom, too. Strange that it happened to both of you. Don't suppose it convinced your hubby that it wasn't a good choice? Hope you heal quickly!

  2. Sorry I with Hubby. I believe. I've never even seen and I can see it. I hope you alright.