I’ve dated men of leisure. The struggling artist that broods in a moody cloud of cigarette smoke, lounging in a chair as he works through a piece of prose. Dishes piling in the sink, the dirty laundry scattered all around him.

I did not marry this man. Actually, I wed one of the easiest-going men I know. But a man of leisure he is not. He’s simple: when he rests, he rests (I should take lessons). When he works, he works. And then, there is the garden. This, is simply his passion.

Passion is what I had in mind this morning. And not the garden variety. I wouldn’t normally write about something this intimate, but the scene unfolded so humorously, I can’t help but share.

We’re newlyweds, yes. But we’re householders with a nine-year old, as well. Some evenings we just fall into bed and squint at one another through drooping eyelids. This morning’s inspiration I thought it was ingenious. Take Jeb to the bus stop, skip yoga (my hamstrings are sore anyway) and return home for a little time with the Bohemian before he had to go to work. I’m on my staycation – why not mix up the routine?!

So clever I was, covering all my bases. Stave off Mary with a text – I have a date with the Bohemian, don’t bother to come by, I’ll come to your place later and pick up fruit.

With all systems go, my ducks in a row, I’d have the Bohemian to myself for the morning.

And then the phone rang. It was Mary. Thrilled that she’d just gotten the call from the horse ranch. There was at least two truckloads of free horse manure ready for pick up. She’d gladly deliver a load to our place for the garden. Would the Bohemian want any?

Free poop doesn’t come every day. And maybe never is it delivered to your door without charge. Except, it seemed, in this rare instance – when an amazingly generous friend is coupled with an atypical morning slotted for amorous plans. Go figure.

“Should I call him?” she asked.

“Yeah, why don’t you call and see if he wants it,” I tried. “He’s home.”

I must be in love, half-happy that my husband would be getting his dream fertilizer, even if it trumped my own designs.

“I know you sent a text that you had a date,” Mary offered, “but when the ranch calls…”

“No, I know, I know. Thanks so much for offering to bring some by. That’s really generous.”

“No problem. I’ll call him now.”

We hang up. I drive home from the bus stop. By the time I get there, Mary’s already at our place – their fertilizer thrill, a palpable zing in the air, as they coordinate a delivery time.

I try to keep it light. “Our date’s being replaced by a load of horse shit, isn’t it?”

Mary laughs. “No, no. I won’t be back with it for about an hour. You’ve still got some quality time. I’ll go now and come back around eight.”

Even after she leaves I can see it in his eyes. The Bohemian, he’s trying, but the wheels have been set in motion. He hugs me, but I can feel it.

“You’re thinking about shovels, aren’t you?” I say.

“I know, Jess, I’m sorry. I’m thinking about the garden, about the trees…” He’s smiling down at me with the sweetest, most sincere eyes.

I know this man loves me. It’s taken many-a-month to allow that truth to settle in, but this, I do know is true.

I love his passion for his work. His dedication to the garden. His inspiration from the earth. I appreciate his honesty. That the truth is, despite his love for me, a truckload of horse manure is on the way and that’s just downright exciting.

As for me, I couldn’t help feeling a little slighted. Though I did put on my garden pants, and met them both down by the truck at eight. I even offered to help, but the Bohemian was all a-flurry in a blur of pitchfork and shovel. My able-bodied man in action. Unloading a spongy heap of the richest fertilizer one could dream.

A gardener’s fantasy, really.

And I know this will enrich our soil. This gift from Mary will help to feed our family. For this I am truly grateful.

But this was not my morning’s fantasy. No, my little inspiration got the cosmic curveball. I’m laughing about it now.

How my romantic plans got buried by a pile of poo.


2 thoughts on “The Poo Pile

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