NOW THAT I AM 85: I Wish I Had a Little Husband in the Bedroom Down the Hall – Part II
My little husband hollers. “What? No advance notice? No time to prepare?”
“You did it before; you can do it again?”
He reminds me that at the time of the first flood, Shem and Ham and Japheth were still living at home.
“How can I alone, with such a blood pressure, build such an enormous boat?”
“I got it!” He jumps up and dances me about. “We don’t got to take the animals this time – only the DNA! Already I know how to make so many creatures—every one a big success–I can make the rest when we get to that Mount-whatever-it-is! Let’s see,” he says. “It’s you, me, some sandwiches and the DNA. This boat could be (he measures his forearm to remind himself how long is a cubit) maybe seven cubits wide, twenty cubits long.”
I chop down some trees for him.
I watch admiringly as he constructs our new ark.
But soon, through the grey curtains of rain, I see animals of all sizes approaching my little husband. Their feet make squishy noises in the mud. They bark, peep, moo, bray, oink, squeak, roar – so many sounds!
He puts on his sea captain’s hat which he has kept on a hook since the first flood. He blows his bugle.
“Animals!” he announces. “I am sorry to tell you, this time we don’t need you.”
They look shocked. Unbelieving. They make small murmuring sounds of protest.
“You got to understand, we got dominion over you. That means we make all the rules. And this time we don’t need you. Good luck.”
The animals sit down quietly and watch us as we work.
Now the ark is finished, the sandwiches and DNA are stowed. The biggest animals are standing, up to their tails in the rising water. They are covered with little animals, who crawl on the big ones’ backs and shiver in the rain. Some are crying.
He starts to push off, but I remember something.
“You made a dove?” I ask. “You sure you know how to make a dove? Because last time, if we didn’t have a dove, where would we be now?”
“Well….” he says.
“Well….” he says again.
“Enough with the well, well,” I say.
The rain keeps falling.
“You sure you can make a dove?”
He has trouble looking at me.
“I tried,” he says. “Fifty times I tried to make a dove.”
He reaches down into the bottom of the boat and pulls out what looks like a string of sausages with feathers sticking out.
“Never could I get it right.”
“But how,” I ask, “will we ever find that mountain we got to in the first flood?”
He holds the feathery sausage-thing in his hands, and slowly turns it about and about.
He says, “What I think is that we won’t. Without the dove to bring the branch, we will just go round and round, on all that water. We will row, row, row the boat, and never find that mountain.”
My little husband stands up as tall as he can.
“Animals!” he says. “I am sorry that I did not care to save you. And now I am sorry to say – I can’t. I don’t seem to have the smarts.”
He bows his head.
This seems to be some kind of signal to the animals, because they solemnly gather into a long, long line and enter the boat. They crowd in politely—no pushing—and stand on each other’s backs to make room for all.
“Why do they want to come?” my little husband asks. “We will all perish, anyway.”
“Maybe they just want to be with us,” I say. A nice lion rests his head on my lap, and a duck sits on my foot.
A tear rolls down my little husband’s cheek, and goes – ping!. We look down at the bottom of the boat, where the tear fell, where the feathered sausages were lying, and there is, instead, a beautiful dove. Alive. Cooing softly.
“What a Creator!” my little husband marvels. “Look what a thing He can do!” He holds up the dove for all to see, and then he gives it to me. The animals all cheer loudly, in their many different voices.
I say: “It was a good idea you had, though. This is a very nice boat.”
My little husband picks up the oars. I hold up the dove as high as I can.
We begin our journey.
(My next shlog is entitled: “I Have an Imaginary Friend”)