I stand in the kitchen, silent. Groceries clutter the counter and toys litter the floor. The children shout as he walks in, rushing towards him, lost in his long arms. He is home for seven days before leaving again for seven more. Home and away are our only constants and we lose track of time lost. Three months, six months. It all becomes the same.
He pulls me away from the stove, understanding my silence. "How was work?" he asks. "Crap". It is my only response. I lay my head against his chest, exhausted.
I can see them through the window as I dig. The boy parades in his flight jacket and the girl shows him how to dress her dolls. I thrust the shovel deeper, sandy soil crashing to the bottom like waves. I haul it to the top just to watch it slide back in.
Swiss cheese holes like craters fill the newest bed but the digging doesn't stop. The back door creaks open as the porch light flickers on. "Hey, it's dark" he yells before retreating into the house only to pop out like a prairie dog moments later. "Maybe if you had a mining helmet, this would be easier." I ignore him but start to smile. The door creaks open again and he continues his comedic assault. "The county called. They said you hit water and need to stop."
The gardens are all the same, regardless of address. There is no plan, just a need. Long beds circle the grass before curving back towards the house, a comforting embrace as perpetual as my singleness. I toss the shovel into the hole and sit in the grass. Fuzzy lamb's ears soft under my fingers slow down my breathing and I begin to relax. I leave the shovel in the hole. I'll be back in seven days.
To cope with the stress of being an almost single parent while working at a school I didn't like, grieving my fathers death and adjusting to another new town, I would create new garden beds and then fill them with holes. After finding a new teaching position, I began filling the holes with perennials and roses. I filled the biggest hole with the David Austin rose, Abraham D'Arby, a rose that also grows in my current garden.