NOW THAT I AM 85: I Wish I Had a Little Husband in the Bedroom Down the Hall

NOW THAT I AM 85: I Wish I Had a Little Husband in the Bedroom Down the Hall

This little husband would sit at a desk, curly-headed, eagerly upright, and surrounded by test tubes in racks.

He would invent things.

Every afternoon at four he would emerge from the downstairs bedroom and show me the latest product of his indefatigably fertile mind.

“Lookit vat I made!” he would crow. (I have looked up the verb “to crow” and see it means not only “to brag loudly and joyfully” but also to “make the shrill sound characteristic of a cock”. So I know this is the correct word. Also, you will see that I have given him a slight accent, which he retains from having grown up near Hester Street in lower Manhattan).

His offering of the day might be a colorful jar-lid-grabber, or possibly a lady’s chin-razor discreetly disguised as a powder-compact. Of course, at my age I no longer need any gifts, so after I have admired his offering to his satisfaction, he chucks it out the window. It lands, always, smack in the middle of the dumpster, which he leaves open for this very purpose.

I know that he shows off in this way to remind me of our courtship days, when he would take me to Coney Island every Sunday and, thanks to his uncanny accuracy, win a stuffed animal for me almost every time. Afterwards, we would share a chocolate-covered Halvah.

Today he comes out of the bedroom carrying a raccoon.

It is alive. He is carrying it by the tail, and it wiggles violently. Not, apparently, because it wants to bite him, but simply because it wants to get right-side-up.

I admire it.

He throws it out the window.

The dumpster quivers.

The next day he brings me a frog. The next, a small kangaroo. Each time, after he has presented his creation to me, he hurls it into the dumpster, satisfied that he can reproduce that particular creature again whenever he likes.

After many days, his crowing takes on an almost hysterical note. He brings me a lemur. “That’s 143 kinds of creatures already I know how make! Pretty soon I’ll be able to make everything that lives! Then He can retire!”

Now my little husband points upward, with a childlike assurance about who abides where.

Then three things happen in quick succession:

                    A huge, earth-shaking roar of thunder;
                    A downpour of rain that goes on and on;
                    An e-mail.

My little husband looks at the e-mail. He becomes furious. “Just three little words!” he sputters. “Here, I’ll print it out for you.”

The e-mail says: “I’m…. mad….again!”

The rain keeps falling.

(To be concluded in the next installment of my shlog)


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