Sunday, June 20, 2010

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The Fence

A few weeks after Dad told Mom about his affair, he built a fence separating his end of the yard from hers. It was seven-feet tall and constructed from wood panels the color of sandstone. He used Grandpa’s hydraulic post hole digger, a six-foot tall yellow drill bit attached to the back end of a tractor. Dirt poured from the earth like God didn’t want it there, and Dad replaced it with sloppy gray concrete and four by four wooden posts.

The fence was constructed a few feet from the cement step that stretched across our yard separating Mom’s grass from Dad gravel. Dad left just enough space to work without stepping on Mom’s grass. He pounded nails from 5 pm until dark, everyday, for two weeks. Each time his hammer hit the wood it reminded Mom that he was out there, with in reach of her voice, and yet she would not speak to him. I think a part of her wanted him to cross that border, come in the house, and ask for forgiveness, but he never did, he just kept pounding away, making the invisible border they had created a real one. Sometimes she watched him from the patio doors, and although he knew she was watching, he never looked up, but kept his face down, or his back to the house.