There have been both famous and infamous barriers erected throughout history to separate people. The Great China Wall raised against the nomadic tribes of Huns and Mongolians. The Berlin Wall once dividing the politics and country of Germany. And the privacy fence shielding my teenage son from our neighbor Phyllis, who likes to sun bathe topless. But as yet no wall has ever been constructed to protect a wife’s kitchen from the forays of her husband.
When I recently found my turkey roaster in the garage resting alongside empty tins of dog food in the recycle bin, I quietly prayed with that little voice inside me before asking my husband, “Why is the turkey roaster in the recycle bin?’
Out of the mouth of babes he innocently responded, “Because there’s clay in it.”
I tried hard to imagine him as a small child once held laughing, warm in the embrace of his mother - but could not. Curiosity not willing to leave well enough alone, killing countless cats and marriages before me, I simply had to ask, “And why exactly is there clay in my turkey roaster?”
The complete blank expression convinced me without a doubt that he was far more surprised by my question than I ever could be by his answer.
“Because I used it to melt some clay in the oven.”
I stood there in the garage holding a gallon of 2% milk and a bag of groceries, powerless and amazed. Suddenly, so many previously held questions became perfectly clear. In an instant, I knew why my husband would never go to the moon. I understood why he would not cure cancer at his workbench down in the basement. And the fact that someone else besides him invented practically everything from the airplane to twist ties on the top of plastic bags now made perfect sense. Despite the gypsy’s warnings that summer evening at the carnival, I had indeed married a stupid man.
With fearful hesitation, I was compelled by a strange force to inquire a little further, “And why would you use my good turkey roaster to melt clay in?”
“Because I don’t own one.”
And with those few words my dear sad Lenny turned to help with the remaining groceries, his size 13’s slowly walking toward the house. In a world of mice and men, I had found my mouse. Rummaging among my pots and pans, using my blender to mix paint, my kitchen knives to cut cardboard and wood, my food processor to create a new organic pesticide made from live bugs, and yes - my roaster to melt clay down in.
As if I needed to ask.
Eloise Williams is a pseudonym for William Alex Tudor III, an alumnus of Wright State University’s English Department. “I have done quite a few things in the course of my life from picking wild blueberries barefoot in Maine to planting Douglas fir trees in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon for the BLA, but this was the first time to present myself as a woman. Over the last several years, I have been involved with various museum installations for Exhibit Concepts and a number of public art projects. I hope to find an agent for my first novel, The Plumber's Apprentice, later this fall.