Sunday, April 25, 2010

Do You Love Me Enough? 2

Do You Love Me Enough? 2

“They’re up to something.” Who said it they couldn’t remember, they were too busy scrambling through the house in search of the boys. On discovering the back door open they then understood that Clay was tall enough to reach a formerly unreachable handle. Jill also understood the heart and gut wrenching sensation when a mother suspects her children may be in danger. Mac figured they’d be playing in the yard somewhere.

Both parents moved toward the gate that led to the front of the house. If it had been open…

Just by the gate was the sand box that Mac had thrown together with his primitive wood working skills. It was just a rudimentary box on legs, made from salvaged lumber after the builders had finished their house, so that the boys could stand and play with their trucks and diggers in the sand.

Clay and Harrison were there. Clay was clearly in control of the game. He had Harrison standing face down in the sand and had built ramps of sand up the side of his face so that toy cars could be driven over the now sandy head of his little brother. Harrison stood upright when he heard the muffled sound of his parents’ laughter. His ears were filled with sand. His little eyes blinked away the gobs of tear stained sand and his tongue worked hard to expel as much of it as possible from his mouth. Diaper changing for days after was a terrible task but the event was always viewed with such hilarity. Afternoons were like that.

But not of late. Not today.

She sat on the love seat, he on the sofa at right angles to her. This was good, Mac thought, no direct face to face contact. Conversation began again about her arrangements for going back to Australia, how it fitted in with what was “best for them all”, and how the boys really did need them back 'home.' Screaming out inside, but this is home, Mac remained calm on the exterior, like a white washed wall against a thunderous sky. Then it came. The question.

"Do you love me enough to come back to Australia when it's time?" Her voice seemed to come from somewhere else. Mac wondered for a moment about Jill’s question.

His first thought was that it came from her insecurity, from that place in her that never seemed to get enough of the love that she craved. It hadn’t mattered that Mac diligently said he loved her at least three times every day. He never left the house without kissing her goodbye, never came home without kissing her again, always said goodnight with a kiss, and each occasion was accompanied by the words, “I love you”. It didn’t matter that they held hands just about every time they went walking together or sat with arms around and draped on each other when they sat in church or watched a movie or shared a sofa at the home of friends. No, she always looked for more affirmation than all that and so she had asked often before whether he loved her or not. But this time was different. The question was marked with an addend, an appendix, a suffix of sorts.

Next his thoughts went toward her tendency to want to control a conversation and thereby the situation. It could have been her way of collecting evidence to be used later. If he answered yes then she could later recall “But you said…” He’d lost many arguments before with that kind of trap. Mac didn’t want to fall into her snare again but at the same time he knew he needed to be truthful.

Mac decided in an instant that it didn’t matter what Jill’s motivation was although he suspected he knew the question’s point of origin. He heard himself answer.