I still have the tamper to return to the rental store, but right now–this moment–feels the way it feels after a long rain. Sweet, fine air.
Even though the day started the opposite of fine when I woke inside a bomb blast. Clothes hangers and Kindle, yardsticks and journals on my bed. Do I really sleep like this? The reality of me in daylight is interrupted by Fence Man knocking at my front door. Just as promised, he is here to help with my fence. Work gloves and a fencing hat. Fifty feet of welded fabric. And seven, heavy gauge T-posts.
But he sets out only five. Here, here, there. He pauses. Then: here and here. Like that. And what I do is squint and think. I rearrange his posts and squeeze in two more. Like so: there and here. When he sees me do this, he nods: Micro Woman.
Ya ya, if you want all seven, have seven.
Such a blessing, I think. The way he laughs and doesn’t punish me for my own thinking. I’m not used to this. And when the sledge hammer fails to appear in my garage, it’s not a problem for this man. And when I unfold a six-inch footstool, thinking it might help with pounding 68″ poles with a puny hammer: Still the calm disposition. Like the sixty-year-old cashier at the grocer’s yesterday. Glittered red hair, cakes of blue eye shadow, belly-flopping across the conveyor belt to point her UPC gun at the case of camping water bottles in my cart.
I’m lucky I used to be in gymnastics, she confided, toes pointed, and adding how the job kept her from saggy Popeye biceps. And how the five silver crosses hanging from her neck keep her grateful for small things. She could be like the Louisiana professional she heard about on the National News. He hasn’t had a job in over three years. Imagine that, she taps in the code for red peppers on her cash register, three years of making do.
And now in the case of making do, of the missing sledge hammer–no leverage and no weight–we are off to the nearest rental store for a proper T-post-pounder.
Bam Bam–the posts are each sunk eighteen inches. My job is to pull the wire fabric tight. With one hand he pulls it tighter than I can with two hands and my Let Me Prove I Can Do It stubbornness. He doesn’t say: Is that all you can do? Not once.
And when we are done, we stand back to admire our work. It feels good. The 12-gauge-wire fence is ugly, yes. But when Fence Man releases the come-along he had rigged to anchor my neighbor’s gorgeous, but failing wooden fence, it immediately lists forty-five degrees. One more gust of wind and that fence will be gone. But now my pups are safe.
The wind can’t blow ugly down, I tell the Fence Man. And when he laughs and doesn’t correct me, I feel lighter. Blessed.