And Then the Garden Hose Made Me Cry
I was fine for the walk through the town of Plymouth in the later hours of the afternoon. Enjoying the window shopping, spotting a sweater perfect for my new slacks, and admiring the new pearl necklace featured at the jewelry store. Brushing by the artistically laid out shop windows I made a mental note of things to return to look at. The Brass Bed shop with a bed in the front window so comfortable and lush that surely you would peacefully rest for the remainder of your life here on Earth. Deep pillows you fall into, taking away all the worries of the world, or maybe just a few negative thoughts.
By my walking standards the day was perfect. No sweaty Michigan humidity, just lightly blowing wind circulating a cool breeze around my moving body. My mood upbeat, loving the energy in the town around me. I returned up Deer Street past some of my favorite houses happy to get back to our flat in the old Victorian house and start dinner with my husband.
And then the garden hose made me cry.
When I got to our house I noticed it had been moved to the opposite side of the house and connected to the faucet. Through the fall and winter, the entire time after we moved here from Colorado, it had sat curled up next to the few outside items we couldn’t get into the garage. Not the best choice for it during the long winter months. Yet neither my husband nor I had moved it. The plan was to throw it out. It never should have made the journey across the country with the few items we deemed worthy to save.
Every so often when the snow melted I would think I need to move this. But I never did, waiting for spring to clear it from our lives.
The minute I saw it curled up nicely on the other side of the house, connected, most likely used by the neighbor we share our duplex with, grief hit me. It hit hard, overwhelming my emotions. Tears welled up in my eyes, my heart, and by the time I climbed the stairs and entered the living room, they rolled down my checks in long heavy streaks. My husband greeted me and saw my tear-stained face and between my sobs quickly sat me down. The words wouldn’t come. I could not express to him why the tears. I felt stupid, foolish that such an item would cause such upset. After all I have put him through with the move back to Michigan to help my family, how do I tell him what made me cry? I stammered a few hesitant words, he caught the word hose, and more crying. He was more perplexed than concerned, his eyes darting back and forth in an attempt to understand.
Finally the words formed in my mouth. “The garden hose made me cry,” I sobbed, hands wiping tears away.
He sat back into the couch, evaluating, pondering, waiting for the right words, any words to say to this.
“Sounds like a title for one of your stories,” is what he comes up with. Smiling at me, his arm around my shoulder bringing me closer to him.
“The people downstairs used it for something,” I tell him looking down at my hands in my lap.
“Actually, I used it yesterday to clear the air conditioner” he tells me. “It was loaded with leaves and debris and I needed the hose to clean it. And what if the neighbor had used it?” he questions.
“It just felt like a loss, something else moving on, another piece of our old life that we had to leave behind, that we should never have left behind. Someone else making use of what we abandoned when we moved away from our old life,” I tell him.
I can’t help but to smile a weak smile, feeling more foolish and childish than ever. Will the tears never stop? Will there come a day after all these life changes that only peace and happiness will exist within me?
“It was one more straw, as small as it seems.”
“Just like the wagon,” he reminds me.
“Oh yeah, the wagon” I say quietly, closing my eyes, my mind going back through the years.
The Red Ryder metal wagon that a cousin had given my daughter for her first birthday. That wagon went everywhere, not just with her, but eventually with my son too. Many joyful outings with the wagon, it being such an important part of their play. Moving things through the yard, hauling goodies to the park. Then for years it sat dormant in the garage. No longer a part of their lives. We started to use it to haul out the trash. Piling items on it and taking them to the curb. One day the wagon stayed at the curb with the garbage upon it. I passed it as I drove out of the garage that day, and thought maybe in the future we shouldn’t do this. But there was no more future for the little red wagon. When I returned home that night, it was gone. Taken by the garbage people, or hopefully some neighborhood child that saw its value.
When I realized it was gone, I cried, long stupid tears. Tears that I couldn’t even begin to understand. Tears for what had been, and never will be again.
And so it was with the garden hose, a life in the past, a life that never will be again.
I give my husband a smirky grin, realizing my ties to the past keep me from moving forward. They keep me in days that were. I can’t help but miss what was in my life before. I just haven’t reconciled the losses with what may be gained. It is more MY life now, than it had been for twenty-some years. But maybe I really liked the structure of the days before. The days when my children’s purpose had to be my own. The structure that necessity brought into my life. A life of “should-do’s” and “had-to’s” and “must-do’s”. Where are those days now? How do I get them back? Do I even want them back?
I know the answers aren’t coming today. I know things get better with time, but I still miss the life I left. It is those old days that hold me and until I make the move here completely – in mind, heart and soul – I’ll be avoiding the hose.