It's rainy, cold and windy. We all have our winter sweaters on. That lovely crab apple tree from my last post? Most of its pretty pink blossoms have been ripped from its branches and scattered across the lawn, where they lay in wet, tattered clumps.
Kind of like prom queens look the morning after—at least the ones from my high school.
When I got home from work I told my husband Chuck, who was laid up in bed with a sinus infection, that I was going to make a fire.
No sooner had the words left my mouth than my four-year-old son blurted: "Women can't make fires! Only men can."
Before I try to articulate the ire that his comment inspired—and let me tell you, I was iring up to my eyeballs—I want to tell you about my step-father.
He is an old-fashioned man of European descent. His very little mother pampered him his entire life. He is a man who likes his pants laundered and pressed, his socks mended, and his dinner waiting for him on the table. Not only that, he is a man who whistles when it is time for the she-folk to get up and clear the dinner table.
(Side note: I do not get up.)
He and I had many, many disagreements growing up about the capabilities of women (see aforementioned side note). Yes, I borrowed his porn from time to time, but I despise him for his whistling. As if my mother, aunts, and cousins are a herd of dogs.
Knowing this little piece of my past, you can understand why I raced upstairs and pounced on Chuck after my son's declaration.
"Did you tell him that women can't make fires?"
Chuck tried to tell me that he kind of, sort of, maybe did—"Uh....uh....er.....uh...."—but only because I have long hair and he worried I might lean forward and catch on fire.
Preposterous! Even though the Girl Scouts failed me in my youth by making us knit Jesus crosses while the Boy Scouts learned practical, fundamental skills like building damn fires, I have amassed enough knowledge in my 37 years to know to hold my hair back while leaning into a fireplace.
"I will not raise two boys to believe that women can't do the same things men can," I spat. Chuck didn't say anything. Okay, he tried, but I wasn't listening. Mostly because if he started groaning again about his delicate, impaired condition I was going to sock him one.
I went outside and got some wood. I got matches and some newspaper from the recycling pile. I made the stupid little paper tent under the wood, then I lit it from underneath. Soon enough there was a raging fire.
"See?" I said to Junior. "Women can make fires just like men. And my hair?" I asked, pulling on it. "All here!"
"Yup," he said.
"See it? I did that!"
I shook my head. "I thought you'd be more excited."
"Me too," he said. He may have even yawned.
But fuck, he didn't whistle.
And he never will.