The C Word

IMG_0044Man Child has moved back home after graduating “university,” and along with him, come a 1949 Packard, a dozen old bicycles waiting to be refurbished, four years of collegiate dirty laundry, a collection of depression era glass, an engine lift, the piquant odor of 70-year-old gasoline and grease, a hearty appetite, a 1940 Packard engine (that is NOT part of the 1949 Packard) and did I mention dirty laundry?

He also brought his energy. I could use summa that energy because mine seems to be taking an extended sabbatical. However, Man Child’s energy whips into a room, makes everybody laugh until either their sides ache, or their pants are wet and then whirls back out from whence it came, leaving the room feeling emptier than it was before he entered. Emptier and somehow trashed.

Spousal Unit and I remain amazed at his ability to leave a trail of destruction. It’s as if the items that were on tables see him coming and just go ahead and jump onto the floor, knowing it is their fate anyway. Maybe I read too many Grimm fairy tales to him as a child and he feels as if he must leave a trail of breadcrumbs wherever he goes. In his world, breadcrumbs become bolts, oil-soaked rags, screwdrivers, 3D printed phallic symbols and half-filled Tervis Tumblers.

Shortly after he moved back, he visited Daisy, who sat forlornly alone, waiting to be finished. I was really, REALLY close to getting her done, painting her counter tops eight million coats of shiny black because $400 for a sheet of retro Formica is more than I paid for the actual camper. I was kinda showing off to Man Child that I was finishing her by myself. She would be complete by spring.

He stepped inside and admired his handywork from four years ago and we reminisced about the time she caught on fire and when his dad needed six stitches from working on her. Then he reached across the counter top of many coats and pushed on her wall. It was soft. He pushed his entire hand through her plywood and pulled out the soft rotted pulp of a water-damaged 2 x 4 and fistful of pink insulation like an Aztec warrior pulling out the still-beating heart of his defeated foe.

I was the witness on a crowded street who says nothing, but watches the carnage with sick fascination. He continued to pull out rot and insulation. I gasped open-mouth like a fish on dry land. Daisy! Oh! God! Daisy! She hadn’t even been given anesthesia.

He mashed his fingers against the 2 x 4 until the wood quit giving way and he removed the plywood and the insulation to the spots where they were dry and solid. I found my voice. “So, you’re going until you find clear margins?” I squeaked, remembering the terminology from a friend’s lumpectomy.

“Yep.” He proclaimed. “Daisy’s got The Cancer.”

His bedside manner could stand some improvement. “What’s it going to take to make her well again?” I whispered, thinking maybe I should get her on our church’s prayer list. “Is it terminal?”

“Well, we need to find the cause of it. I think I’m going to have to take the metal off like we did the other side. I’m not sure where the leak started, but water is getting in here and….” He kept pushing in wood and pulling out guts.

I looked at the pile of gizzards on my shiny black counter top with four coats of shiny black paint and swallowed hard. “Well, I guess Daisy has always been about the journey and not the destination, eh?” I tried to quip gamely; it came out bitter, empty, like Kellyanne Conway faking that she enjoys her job.

Man Child dusted off his hands like Pontius Pilot, and I knew deep in my heart that this was going to be my problem. His work here was done. He’d made the diagnosis. He and his Tasmanian Devil energy hopped down from Daisy and flower pots on her little porch just went ahead and fell to the ground, succumbing to their inevitable fate.

Three months have passed and Daisy’s open wound remains sore and inflamed. It’s a beautiful spring day, the kind of day I want to be able to nestle within Daisy’s pretty pink walls and write. When I stepped into her today, knowing that writing next to her gaping puss-filled, cavernous void would be impossible, a beam of light filtered down from her ceiling vent and I became enlightened. I know how I can cure Daisy’s The Cancer.

Four years of dirty laundry will fill that hole nicely don’t you think?


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