Archive for tests

Old Favorites Revisited: Episode One: Mowing After Dark

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by 1writegirl

I wear a silver chain around my neck bearing a Chinese character; the year of my birth. I don’t take it off to shower, or sleep, or jog or even when I mow the grass, which is after dark. Long after everyone else has put their lawn care products away and retired to the sanctuary of porches, living rooms, and television screens.

I mow quietly, my push reel mower making only a low, humming sound, and as I mow, I talk out loud to someone who isn’t here. I ask him questions and tell him just exactly what I’m thinking as I feel my way across the yard, around the edges and trees. “Love is a tightrope,” I tell him. I can see him in my mind balanced precariously, and I know if I love him too much, he will fall off, just like he will if I don’t love him enough. This is a test, and I wonder if there is a way to cram for it. I wonder, too, if it’s the kind of test you can re-take if you fail, and who decides these things.

By the time the moon is high in the sky I am finished, sweating in spite of the cool night air, sitting on the front step with my fingers wrapped around the necklace: caress, release, caress, release, like a dance or part of a rosary bead benediction. It strikes me that life is like mowing after dark, feeling your way as you go, with the likelihood you’ll run over something sharp increasing the longer you’re out there.

It represents something, this necklace, which is why I never take it off. Not a promise, or a dream, not even a wish for what might have been. Some might call it a memory. Others folly. Patience is a virtue, while stubbornness a sin. Is there a difference? I call it hope and it lives in a place between two hearts, where the grass only grows after dark.