Her husband was mad; building a ship as big as a house in the front yard. He was quite mad and worst of all, the neighbors knew it. How could they not? What started out as a secret between her husband and God mushroomed into the giant skeleton of a ship’s hull sprawling over her flower beds like a monster tarantula with timber legs.
Without even consulting her, he quit his day job and took out a second mortgage on the house, saying the banks wouldn’t be around much longer anyway. Nothing was going to matter except life itself so there was no point in packing the good china.
Oh, she’d pack alright … pack up her side of the closet and leave him. One of the boys would take her in, their wives wouldn’t mind. She only needed someplace to stay while she brushed up on her secretarial skills, sent out resumes…
Sudden shouts and laughter bubbled up from the front yard. The boys and their wives had come unannounced, were helping the old man put the finishing touches on the roof of his crazy contraption. He swore it would float and that God would steer it so he didn’t need a rudder.
As she slammed the closet door shut, a cacophony of animal noises thundered down the street. She put her hands on her hips as a menagerie of animals streamed into their yard.
“I’ve had enough!” She locked her suitcase, hauled it into the hall. As she started toward the back door a tiny voice in her heart stopped her, pleaded that he needed her now more than ever. Instead of slipping out the back she went to the front yard. Two field mice were cowering by the birdbath, afraid of great, trampling feet clambering up the ramp. Scooping them into her pocket she went onboard and set the mice free.
Her husband took her hand. “It’s going to rain any minute now,” he told her.
She looked up at the dry sky, gone blind with sun. “I should have brought a broom,” she said. “I should have made sandwiches.”
Noah kissed her. “I love you.” He closed the door and sealed it with pitch.
“I love you back.” Nothing else mattered, only life itself.
Published in Stories