PAGE # 32
7:00 pm & beyond

When I discovered the flood in the laundry room, I was too preoccupied with Tom's absence (and our pending adoption) to appreciate this gift the universe had thrown at me.  A great flood is often featured in literature, and if I had known then, that I'd be writing about it all now--well, I might have felt connected to some of the most influential writers in our recorded history.  At the very least, I'd have felt some amusement over the whole mess.  But on that particular evening, I felt no such enthusiasm about the water pooling inside our home.

I was able to turn off the washing machine, but for reasons I will never understand, water continued to rush inside.  I needed to turn off some faucet located behind the machine, but that was impossible to reach.  And the machine, having neither legs nor wheels, would not move.  The washing machine of my dreams--a stainless steel front loader--was heavier than an elephant.  

The man who was finally able to make it all stop, nearly gave himself a heart attack in the process.  He goes by the name of 'Neighbor Vic,' and he is the size of three men rolled into one.  He is a chain-smoker from a bygone era, eats whatever he pleases, and works outdoors all day long minus any sunscreen or even a shirt.  He is invincible.  

But very dirty.  

As Neighbor Vic wrestled the washing machine away from the wall, I saw that this man sweats soil.  He was literally dripping with wet earth.  He's a landscaper, so at least this made sense.  It would have been a cognitive assault otherwise--say, if he were an accountant or something like that--and I'm grateful that the whole experience, however disgusting, at least aligned with my expectation of things.  I didn't need another surprise that night.  

Of course, I tried to use the great flood to my advantage:  I sent descriptive text messages to Tom, hoping to torture him with just the right measure of guilt for being away on a business trip.  Not too much guilt or he might retaliate.  Unfortunately for me, I do not possess the unsung superpower of subtlety.  Tom swore to forever save these text messages.  He plans to use them in the future, if needed, to show the world at large that his wife is insane.

I will not include the original text messages here.  I'm all for using primary documents in the writing of this memoir; however, I must spare myself this particular humiliation.  I simply did not have my shit together that night.

On the other hand, this is probably a fine moment to introduce the personal references written for our home study evaluation.  These letters of recommendation, a total of three, were composed by some of our dearest friends.  They are flattering indeed; in fact, when I first read them, I considered pinning them to my physical person, like how people wear medical identification tags, just in case my life happened to intersect with some fatal accident.  These letters might secure my place in heaven:
"Take me in God!  I've been a kind person, and despite the fact that I'm a chronic skeptic and haven't received communion since forced to do so, I come clothed in documentation attesting to my utter goodness."
I will include some of my favorite excerpts from those letters now, not for the sake of some self-promoting ego-boost, but to illustrate the disparity between what was written about our marriage (by others) versus the mad text messages written about our marriage (by me).  I am a fan of contrast, so please indulge me. 

Some of my favorite excerpts include:
Jennifer and Tom love each other very much and their home is full of joy.  Jennifer always knows what is best for her family and children.  She is flexible and quick to volunteer help to others in need.  Tom is an excellent father.  He is dedicated to his family and always makes time to take care of his children.  Sometimes, when we are far away on a business trip, I realize he can't wait to go back home.
As a couple, Jennifer and Tom are each other's Yin and Yang.  They complement each other so perfectly, one would think they were created for each other.  Both individually and as a couple, they are patient, loving and caring.  They do what is right not only because it is right, but because it feels right and is part of who they are.
There are ways people get lucky in life, and not everyone gets lucky in the same way.  Jennifer and Tom are lucky in marriage.  They met and married under non-conventional ways.  They married, loved each other, and had a baby while their peers were too immature to understand that level of commitment.  Yet, their marriage is stronger than most.  They understand each other well.  They are patient and loving with each other.  They make their marriage a priority in life and nurture their love for each other.  They have made the choice and promise to each other to ensure they work together despite any external circumstances.  They have made the harder and better choices such as having a child young, moving to a place away from family, various career decisions, all because they knew it was best for their family.
What letters!  There was much detail about our parenting skills too, but I've chosen the above passages because they provide a window into our marriage, if from the outside looking-in.  And on that very night, after the water had been scooped away with buckets, and Neighbor Vic's soil-sweat was washed clean, and even after I composed my mad monologue via text message to Tom, I opened my email account to reread those lovely sentences.

I'm not sure if I was hoping to remind myself that our marriage was full of love, despite my feelings of isolation and abandonment, or if I just can't resist a good dose of irony in general.  Probably the latter.

I did not fall asleep easily that night.  I tried some relaxation exercises, but mostly I wallowed in my own self-pity and waited, in terror, for the phone call that Kendra was in labor and that I must go to the hospital immediately.  And all alone.

But Kendra did not go into labor that night, and she was not induced the following morning.  Instead, she had a surprise visit from child protective services. 

To be continued... 


I never got to say goodbye said...

I am on the edge of my seat. You are telling this tragic tale in a very compelling way. Keep writing.

Jennifer said...

Thanks :)

Amanda said...

I am also on the edge of my seat.

I hope you will be publishing a memoir! :-)

Jennifer said...

Thanks Amanda!