My Lover’s Home Was Small
But our love was big.
Photo credit: Darrin Atkins
The heat burned the back of my neck as I pushed the shovel into the hard dirt and slammed it deeper with my boot. I lifted the rocks and earth out and tossed them aside.
“Thank you," said my love Annabelle as she looked out the kitchen window of her small brown house.
I was at her place on a Sunday in August. The heat was palpable.
I shoveled harder, finished the hole, and tossed the fence post down inside. It was hard physical work, but it had to be done.
My lover Annabelle needed a fence on her property. It was to protect her on the long days and weeks I couldn’t be with her.
Another deep hole, another clearing out the rocks and sand, another four-by-four down deep. I wore gloves but I worked so hard that I knew I would get blisters.
I saw something and turned quick.
It was beautiful Annabelle coming outside in her short yellow sun dress. She had a tall glass of iced lemonade.
“Take a long drink," she said with a warm smile. “I made it how you like it, tart and strong."
She stared at me as I drank.
“You work so hard. You’re going to need some lotion."
“My hands," I volunteered.
“Not just your hands, my love."
The day was a fine one indeed. It was quiet. I didn’t hear anything in the forest behind us, and that was a problem.
I saw the danger in her eyes first. Hurriedly, I twisted myself and could see the old coyote racing towards us. It looked desperate and desperately hungry.
“Stay behind me," I said to Annabelle.
The coyote bared some long sharp teeth as it flew in the air and landed on my chest. Teeth snapped endlessly as I spun around.
I tossed the wild animal down to the ground and away from her. It snapped up and growled. I had a feeling it was trying to get past me. That made my angry.
In a second the animal was on my back, biting into me. I was done wasting time.
I pulled up a four-by-four with one hand and swung it fast over my shoulder. Then I did it again, over and over, until I could hear a loud crack of a skull.
The coyote dropped off my body and I made sure Annabelle looked away before I swung that board so hard that the beast was never waking up again.
“Good jib," she said.
“There’s more fence work to be done."
“There’s always work," she smiled. “I’ve got something else in mind.
I followed her into her small place and she locked the door. She stepped close to me.
“You’re going to need a lot of treatment this evening," she said as she pulled off my shirt.
“There will always be animals around here," I said as I felt her soft small hands caress my chest.
“Then don’t finish the fence too fast."
I tried to memorize the smell of that hillside, the color of her dress, the taste of her lips on mine. But I got lost in the moment.