There were three honks of a horn and I knew before the last one who it was. Every year he sends someone to check on me, N has never stopped being on the job. I opened the door with a huge smile and skipped my way down the front porch stairs to the truck and there inside was a scruffy looking man smiling back at me.
“well look at you – with a beard! I love it!” I was giddy and impatient as he took his time getting out of the truck. “I bet you didn’t know I could grow one!” and he threw both his arms around my shoulders and neck. We stood there hugging each other tightly, to others what might have seemed like a long time but for us there was important communication taking place that need not ever be rushed. There we stood breathing in unison, his furry chin against my forehead and my hands tightly wound in his shirt and my ear pressed in his chest listening to an actual heartbeat.
“I don’t see a short man following you out with a shotgun, he not home?” he lifted his chin. I looked up at him with a giggle, guys have a special way of communicating with each other that we women never need get and I answered him smartly “maybe he is just waiting till you come inside. No, he is at work, the down side to your never calling”
He kept one arm around my shoulder and mine on his back as we walked around the truck and he took in the work we had done – the garden does look pretty amazing and impressive – I was very proud of D and I at that moment, I always am, but this time I got to show it off to someone who mattered to us both. “Man is that broccoli? You guys eat that stuff?!” he teased. “Yes and I make him eat it too, though I usually break it up into microscopic pieces and hide it in his meat loaf but he eats it” I teased back.
He walked around the house and I talked about what was planted where and other projects going on around the Chateau. He seemed to be effected by the peace and freedom of it all and hardly said a word. We talked our way into the house and I offered him my last beer “no I am going to keep on driving” he said politely. “Where are you off too?” I asked. “Oh-HI-OH” he said in a very Amurkan drawl.
“Can I come?!” I smiled, knowing full well I wasn’t serious.
“No way. You always managed to get me in trouble.” He joked shaking his head from side to side.
“Oh I see. You are going to see a girl. I won’t get in the way. Promise” I was trying to make him blush but it was hard to tell under the facial hair. “No, you are about all the girl I want to handle on this trip thank you.” And with that we sat a caught up with the rest of our friends endeavors.
He kept looking around the house, at first I thought perhaps he didn’t believe me that I was here alone but then he said “you know, you two are real lucky, I mean this is exactly what the rest of us hope for. Well done Pyx” and he tapped my knee like my grandfather would with praise “ I wasn’t too sure you were going to survive the first year out here but man look at what has come of it”
My first year was hard and he did come out to see me then, I almost felt embarrassed for the way I was: unsure, a little scared, pissed off, suffering from culture shock and most of all alienated. I winced at the thought of me confiding things to him then but he is not the sort to throw that back in my face nor hold it against me now. “I wasn’t sure either. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done” I said sincerely. I looked at him and could feel my eye brows forced together, nervous and concerned about what they all must have thought of me but of course he put me right in my place “if ever there was someone so stubborn enough to make it work and get their way, it’s you. This is real nice. I like it. I would be happy with this” He said looking at me soothingly, enough for me to smile and blush at the high compliment and I relaxed enough to say thank you.
We talked some more and I made him coffee and something to eat.
“Well Control and I were curious and this wasn’t too much out of my way but I should get going. I am happy you are doing good out here” he said as he looked around one more time. He got up and hugged me again but this time there was a bit of sadness in it. I really did wish we had more time but no need in saying it, he knows, they all know and I don’t much want them to feel bad or any pressure.
“This is like your own little country here. I never had any doubt you could take one over” he said as he pawed at little Canadian flag I had placed by a picture. He then noticed a Viking helmet I had made Ulf and leaned in closely for a better look. I almost peed my pants; I am not a sexual creature to him or the other guys I worked with. I tried to sound cool and casual “Oh I made that for my friend PC, he is always Odin this and Odin that. I thought it would be funny” and he turned his head sideways to look at me while still leaning over the thing and closed one eye with fake suspicion “ sorta small for a grown man’s head isn’t it?”
He stood up tall with his chin pushed forward, eyes looking down at me from under his lashes but I was NOT about to tell him I made it for PC’s penis. It only took me a heartbeat to give out a good excuse, I was always quick to give back just as much as I took “well that is kind of the joke, PC is a [redacted]” I said matter of fact. My eye brows raised and head cocked as if to say ‘so there’
We stared at each other with all seriousness for ten seconds and he spoke softly “ see. Trouble.” He turned on his heels and I laughed after him. He wished me luck and told me something specific to tell my husband which I completely forgot because I do not speak their language. I should have had him write it down but I was preoccupied watching him with tenderness: I miss them all.
He got in his truck and we kissed each other goodbye through the open window “Control. I’m here” I said and stood in the driveway to watch him drive off till I could no longer see his vehicle. At that moment I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else, I looked around at the garden and up at the house and it seemed a little different to me now. It was always peaceful out here but now I was seeing it differently, as he saw it – as my own little country and in complete control; that is going to stick.