Love and Sweat

A Poem by Deborah L. Wymbs

and you missed me

I did
I do

no one can come between us

no one
I close out all

our happiness

our thunderstorms

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Husband

A Segment of a Novel in Progress by Deborah L. Wymbs

I hold my drink and relax under my grand willow tree. It was not a hard day at work, but it wasn’t easy either. All I wanted was privacy and a moment to myself.

“Excuse me,” someone says behind me.

I usually hear people when they approach. The gravel is an excellent and inexpensive alarm system. The man is on foot and this surprises me. No one in Tampy really likes to walk—except for me.

“Who are you?” I ask sharply.

“As I said, I’m sorry for invading your privacy.” He speaks in a very humble tone.

“I’m Ralph Bowman from Gaslight Realty. I’ve been trying to reach you.”

“You reached me. I deleted your messages.” I replace my flute in its case. “Mr. Bowman, I’m not interested in selling my home. My not returning your hundred some calls should have made that obvious to you.”

He glances at the wrought iron table and notices the bottle of wine and the glass sitting across from a forty ounce opened malt liquor can next to a beer mug. “I see I’ve disturbed you and your husband,” he apologizes. “If I could maybe speak to your husband?” He scans for a male figure.

“Look, the answer is no,” I say. “We’ve been here for four years and we’re quite comfortable. I am nice, but my husband is not. No amount of money will ever make us change our mind so please see yourself out.” I signal with my hand as I begin walking towards the blacktop leading him away from the house. “You have a great evening, Mr. Bowman, but remember, the answer is a firm no.”

I walk back to my place of comfort.

“Mrs. Cox,” he calls to me.

I turn to face him. He jogs to me with a card in his hand. “This is my card just in case—“ but he does not finish his words. His eyes focus on Husband barking in a gallop towards him. “Whose dog is that? Is it yours?” He is suddenly very nervous and he wipes his brow. I can tell Husband is not going to attack. His fur is not bristling. He is in his sheep herding mode and Mr. Bowman is a lost sheep.

“My neighbor’s dog,” I tell him, a fib, of course, but a small one. “He obeys me some of the time.”

Husband begins circling and continues barking as Mr. Bowman walks slowly and carefully to the road. “Shoo. Shoo. Go away,” he says in frantic tones.

Husband is having one of his finest moments. A terrified Mr. Bowman makes a gesture to strike Husband with his briefcase. This causes Husband to pause, the fur along the back of his neck begins standing up. Husband looks as though he has a wheat blond afro running down his back to his shoulders. Then he playfully barks and goes into a growl. He shows his teeth.

Squatting, I open my arms: “Husband, come here. Let mommy see you.”

Husband immediately turns his attention towards me and trots proudly to me with his golden tail with its cute white tip curled up like a scorpion’s stinger. He wants to make sure the realtor knows he is not wanted. Then he turns to charge Mr. Bowman.

“Husband,” I call out, “he’s leaving. We don’t want to see him. Give mommy a kiss.”

As Husband showers me with little hello licks, I watch Mr. Bowman run to the blacktop.

“Where have you been?” I ask as I embrace him. Where has my Husband been hiding?”