**Guest post by Clay
April and I had been married a couple months and April was still in her “I don’t like Clay very much” phase of life, partially because we lived in a small, ramshackle rental house, it was a pit…with a back stoop.
It was a Saturday morning, April was heading out to work at the animal hospital and I was still in my big red bathrobe sporting some major bed head. I said goodbye to April and heard the screen door slam behind her. Then I heard the “incident.” My first indication that something was amiss was when I heard an ear piercing shriek and five or six terrified “CLAAAAAYYYs.” I know that many of you haven’t had the pleasure of April’s spine-tingling, terrified shrieks, but I am the recipient of one every four or five minutes. They usually happen when a bug is within 25 feet of the house, but they also happen when she is in a room and I come in and “scare” her. They go something like this:
April: [doing something and more often than not, having a conversation with herself] “oh yes, thank you for asking, I’ve been a professional blogger for many years now and…”
ME: [bang, bang, bang…that’s me walking into the room, very loudly] “um….April”
April: “SHHRRRRIIIEEEEEEKKKKK!!! WHY DO YOU ALWAYS SNEAK UP ON ME!!!”
ME: I’m sorry. [At this point I usually just back out of the room with my hands in a “don’t be mad” sort of way.]
I get blamed for floating in and scaring her on purpose but this has happened to other people as well so I know it’s not just me. It even happened to one poor sap who was walking in front of our house…on the sidewalk, you know, where people usually walk. April was clipping a hedge at the time. It went something like this:
April: [Clip, clip, clip] “oh yes, thank you for asking, I’ve been a master gardener for many years now and…”
Man on the Street: [bang, bang, bang…that’s the guy walking on the sidewalk, very loudly] “Hello”
April: “SHHRRRRIIIEEEEEEKKKKK!!! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR DOING!” Man on the Street: I’m sorry. [Man backs away with his hands up.]
Anyway, the hair-raising shrieks happened and I, being a dutiful husband, ran to her aid through the back door and stopped…and stared…and was confused. April was lying high sided on her stomach about two steps down with her head facing downhill and her arms and legs behind her body as if she was a skydiver gaining speed before the chute opens.
There were only four steps. She was high sided on the second step. I stood there and wondered, “Does she really need me to help her up? I mean, all she has to do is put her hands down. Is she trying to slide across the yard? How did she get into that position in the first place? She was only out here for about three seconds. What the heck?”
All the while, the shrieks and screams continued until April craned her head around and saw me standing there, kind of stupefied. She gathered that I wasn’t reaching down to help her so she turned down the volume…slowly and started to rise to her feet…slowly. In those three or four minutes I had the chance to look down at myself and notice that my robe was wide open and my lily white boxers and my lily white skin were gleaming in the sunlight. And I’m not kidding about the colors. I don’t tan a lick and I have very clean underwear. In fact, they were pretty much the same shade of bright, especially for anyone who squints or happens to be standing more than 15 feet away.
I raised my eyes past April as she rolled back and forth enough to gain the momentum to get up and saw our back-door neighbor standing slack jawed and shirtless watching the whole thing. Sigh. This very neighbor also happened to be holding all the materials for installing a new mailbox and was heading for the very spot where his old mailbox used to be. In the very spot where April, two days prior, had run aground with our car sending his old mailbox hurling halfway up his yard. And that happened right before she peeled out and left the scene while I stood there just shaking my head. So what was I going to do? I gave him a pleasant “how you doing” wave, a “this kind of stuff happens all the time” smirk, a “I hope your project goes well” thumbs up, and a “what kind of person would bash your mailbox and not pay for it” shrug. Then I closed my robe, turned and walked back into the house.
I think my wife might have made it to work on time with most of her pride splattered on the back stoop, but I didn’t hang around long enough to check.