I Don’t Know She Don’t Say
Thank you as always for following my thoughts, it is truly appreciated. The following piece is for a writing contest and I thought you might enjoy it. The prompt was, ‘When a man takes lunch to his wife’s office, he’s told that she hasn’t worked there in weeks.’
Comments are most welcome!
September 26, 2016
I Don’t Know, She Don’t Say
Carlsbad, New Mexico isn’t a very big town, but it’s not small either with a population of over 26,000. Like so many towns in New Mexico it relies on the farming, oil and mining industries for its survival. So do its residents and I have been employed in the nearby Potash mines for years. The miners work twelve hour shifts so I only see my wife in passing on work days. She worked at a nearby Nursing Home, as she had for years.
We spent last weekend in Hondo at our sons ranch as we both had three days off. After we arrived, Linda, my wife, and our daughter in law Joan decided to can some peas while my son and I went to harvest some okra. John asked me how Linda was doing at the nursing home, as she has struggled often over the passing of her wards. Because of this we don’t often speak of her work otherwise. I replied, “I don’t know, she don’t say.” Our conversation shifted and we got distracted and went on to other things.
On Tuesday I arrived at work to find there was a generator failure and the mine was closed for the day. I was somewhat at a loss for what to do as it was too hot at midday to work in the garden. My mind drifted to years past when I worked at the stock yards. Linda was still watching our children grow and she would fix me a nice lunch and bring it to me at noon. I decided to surprise her and do the same.
I fixed a picnic lunch and drove to the nursing home a little before twelve. I looked for her car and couldn’t find it so I went inside. The receptionist greeted me warmly and asked me how Linda was doing. I looked at her, puzzled, wondering if she had confused me with someone else. I replied after a moment, “She’s just fine. Isn’t she here?”
It was the receptionists turn to be confused. After a moment of silence she informed me gently that it had been several weeks since my wife had submitted her resignation and left her job. She didn’t offer any further information and I didn’t ask. I smiled to cover my surprise and wished her a good day, not knowing what else to say and having no excuse for being so poorly informed. I walked slowly back to my truck, wondering first what I was going to do with our lunch, and then what I would do with the rest of my day. There was no flicker of worry or concern as to where my wife was, though I was certainly curious. I went down to the river to eat our meal and then headed home.
Linda came home at her usual time though I noticed it was a little earlier than usual. The day had cooled after lunch and I spent most of it in the garden before fixing a nice supper, something I rarely do. I had set the table with fresh flowers and when she arrived I handed her a glass of cold tea with some fresh mint leaves stuck in the ice. She raised her eyebrows in surprise and kissed me gently on the lips, her appreciation clear with no need for words. She sat out on the porch while I made the final preparations for dinner and when the table was set I called her in. I held her chair for her to sit and then took my own, reaching for her hand before we said grace. We then raised our eyes to each other’s and I saw again her appreciation and the twinkle of love we have always shared.
We had a glass of wine after dinner, sitting on the porch to enjoy the cool breeze. She commented on dinner and I accepted her thanks. Watching her eyes I asked her, “How has work been?” She smiled and replied, “I found a new job a few weeks ago at the greenhouse by the river and I like it very well.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I queried
“You never asked,” was her reply.