I don’t think anyone really knows what fate has in store for them. Sure you might get a glimpse now and again… the star Quarterback getting a broken collar bone at the beginning of the game or the old lady driving way too slow in the passing lane who almost gets nailed by the semi in a hurry. That’s fate telling you Watch the hell out, this is what’s comin’ your way.
I’ve been resigned to the fact that fate really has no clue what’s going on either. In the last 2 years I’ve had some of the biggest changes of my life; baby No.2 arrived, moving out to a beautiful lake house (then moving into town again), starting a struggling online career. With each of these moments fate decided to add a little kick in the cojones. Congratulations on the new baby, let’s just take away your husbands job, oh and by the way, that fabulous new house you can’t afford now….maybe it should start leaking like a hole in Hoover Dam.
So, I wasn’t really surprised by the leaky ceiling. Just another momentary reminder that fate has us by the heels.
“Chris!? Did you see this? The bathroom’s leaking!”
“Aw hell. Really?”
“Come over here”
We stood there, staring at the ballooning sea foam paint in silence. The drywall was sagging and a steady stream of water dripped down to the floor. All the dirty looks in the world weren’t going to fix this one.
My husband has a grasp of the understated that is incomparable.
It was of course my chore to go up in the attic and find out the problem. Telling everyone I’m a carpenters daughter gives me just the right amount of respect without actually having to prove anything. This time, however, my bluff was called.
Our attic isn’t one of those fancy live in kind of deals. It’s more like the creep show kind where you poke your head out a little trap door and hope something isn’t living up there who doesn’t like to be disturbed. I take my time, lamenting the fact that I’ll soon be shrouded in a cloudy world of pink fiberglass insulation. It may look like cotton candy but I’d advise against eating any…nasty stuff.
Flashlight at the ready in a defensive posture I make my way into the cold fathoms of that other world above our home. Luck is with me and it appears as though I am totally alone, floating on my pink clouds. Stepping gracefully from each truss beam I fancy that I’m some sort of gymnast or contortionist. Lean to the right, foot stretched to maximum and bend at 90 deg to avoid hitting my head.
In the middle of the 3rd truss my foot starts to slip and I reach out wildly to catch myself on the next beam, losing my flashlight. As it spins out of my hand I see a sudden glimmer from the remains of an old brick chimney.
“Hon! you ok up there?”
It must have sounded louder downstairs.
“Yeah…I’m ok. Almost there”
Flashlight retrieved and somewhat more subdued I can the antics and set to work finding our mystery leak. The best place to start is by that glimmer of light I saw. Not that I’m overly curious you see but I thought it made sense to check there first. It’s a tight squeeze and I can feel the cold radiating off the old brick. Broken pieces lay in a tumble all around the base of the chimney, lifting a few bigger pieces they really fall apart easy. It must have been my imagination, there’s nothing here.
A large piece of mortar breaks from the chimney and scrapes my hand.
I can see that it’s revealed something delicately metallic and almost buried in the decaying mortar. My fingernails scrape against the brick, digging out my new treasure. With one swift motion it burst free in a shower of debris.
So odd. It’s an old hand mirror like fancy ladies used to walk around with maybe in the 30’s. The face of it is smoky and hard to see, the reflection almost too dark to make out. I take a couple of careful swipes at it, brushing some of the age away and it really does start to look beautiful. No idea what it’s doing up here and now I’m getting seriously cold and still haven’t found our leak. Resting the mirror on my forehead I close my eyes and sigh a little.
“Maybe I can sell you on Ebay and fix our damn roof”
From out of nowhere I feel this heat rush in all around me and my eyes pop open. I’m standing in the bathroom, mirror in hand like I’ve been there for hours.
“Amy, there you are! I was just coming up to find you. Why didn’t you answer me, I yelled?”
He sounds really concerned, I must have been gone for awhile. He holds me by the shoulders and looks at me very carefully, probably because I’m still holding the mirror up to my head and must look like a complete idiot. His eyes fix onto mine for just a second more before I see them slide away, up and start to get really big.
I’m pretty sure I know what he’s looking at and spinning around to look for the leak I find that it’s nowhere to be found. Not like it got fixed…like it never even happened. No water marks, no damaged drywall just clean looking paint.
Like I said, my husband has a grasp of the understated.
Looking from the shiny new ceiling back to the mirror sitting innocently in my hands, it occurs to me. Some people say that Fate is what you make it and suddenly here I am with this wonderful new toy to prove them all right.