When my husband wished me happy anniversary this morning I felt a rush of excitement. It’s not that I forgot. Days blend from one into another and I lose track of time. He read the look of surprise on my face and smiled. There we sat, sipping our cups of coffee while enchanted by the glow of the fireplace.
Then he left for work and I got to work. I opened my laptop ready to pound away at the keys as the words flow with grace and imagination to construct a masterpiece of pure genius.
Fixated on the bright white screen with no words and a consistently blinking cursor I drifted off into thought about my husband — like any love struck wife would do.
I emailed his parents.
“Hi mom and dad!
Joe and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary today. In honor of this I would like to thank you both for raising a good, loving and honorable man. He makes me a better person every day. Our life together and our love for one another is truly a gift. I will forever be grateful to Joe, you and the entire Sauter clan for accepting me into the family.
I got sucked into the internet and found myself posting on Facebook about it.
I tried to narrow down my favorite photograph of him but to no avail. I just couldn’t decide.
I dug through digital files of multimedia artwork I did of that mustache of his.
I’ve written many stories about my husband and our life together. On this special day I would like to share one of the first stories from long ago.
The Story of the Dead Rat
I’m not sure where I should begin my story.
Should I start with the dead rat being found years ago in my not then husband’s toolbox back in Phoenix?
Should I start with him moving the dead rat 1,500 miles across country?
Should I start with the fact the dead rat is still in his toolbox in our garage here in Iowa?
Or, should I start with the fact that I’ve asked my husband to remove the dead rat roughly 372 times yet it’s still there.
It’s dead. The rat is dead. It’s gross.
When I brought it to his attention 16 times ago he took photos and texted them to a friend.
While we were doing our weekend chores my husband cleaned the garage but left the dead rat yet again.
I asked my husband why he doesn’t get rid of the dead rat and he chuckled and said, I don’t know, it’s just there.
What if you die and I’m left here with that dead rat? I asked. Is that what you want for me? A decomposing, fly infested, crusty rat?
Months later he disposed of the rat. This is the end of the story.