Thursday, March 1, 2012

Toys, Tots and Treasures

It was 4:00 pm, and he could smell garlic before he exited the truck. He walked along the driveway, pebbled with sparkling silver reflections on this sunny day that was quickly turning to night. In response, his stomach growled a holler for home-made food, and his brain knew that satisfaction was inside.

He walked into the room, as he always did. Door shut behind him. First the shoes came off, worn and rusted with the soil of the muddy earth. Then the jacket, red with poofs of smokey dust. Poof! Down they went into the mud room, to gather together with the rest of the boots, jackets and hats. It was like Papa Man and Mama Woman were there, as well as three Baby Bears.

She greeted him as she stumbled over the strewn Teddy Bears and alphabet blocks. It was as if they were part of the dark green carpet. They were always there and it would be this way for some time. No one noticed it any more. It was Home.

The Tots slopped dinner down their throats, leaving high residue on the high chairs and the tiled floor. Mama Woman patiently wiped up the Tots as Papa Man sauntered heavily in to turn on the TV. Then came the sound of running water, a hot steamy flood as bath time and bubbles collided. Giggles and wiggles. Then towel-drying and playing ghost with the towels over the head.

Later, much later, Papa Man and Mama Woman were alone together in the marriage bed. Mama Woman wanted to "talk". Again. Whew. Papa Man always hesitated at this, but such was life and he loved Mama Woman so much. So he asked her to bear her soul.

She told him that she was not exactly being completely honest with him, although she really was not living a lie, either. It was complicated. But it was time for more transparency, more intimacy, more baring of the soul. Mama Woman had decided that there was nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Out came a bag of Toys. Toys for this, toys for that. She did not utter a word. She only looked downwards at the black bag and its contents. She pushed it ever so slowly towards him, so that it came into his view and he could realize the full extent of what it was.

He realized that these were her Toys. Her Toys of secrets untold, timeless for the moment. His left eye flickered just a little twitch of discomfort, as it did when he was telling a lie. But she pushed past the discomfort and told him everything.

She did not want the Toys any more. She wanted him. She wanted to share her times with him, and she wanted him to be a part of them. She finished talking and waited. She just waited.

It was then that Papa Man's hand, withered from sun and snow, slowly reached up toward the velvet bag, golden drawstring attached. He took the back of his manly hand, fingers of light touch, and lightly...ever so lightly... he rubbed her right cheek.

They spoke of everything. In the dark, in the discussion and in the silence, Treasures were born. These were Treasures of emotional intimacy. These Treasures would be stored up in eternity, bit by bit and piece by piece.

The Treasures would replace the Toys, and the Tots would grow up with Mama Woman and Papa Man. Long after the Tots had Tots of their own, the Treasures continued to grow.

Nothing would ever take them away.

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