A Love Story
‘You make me so angry!’ I bellowed, I was stamping my feet. We’ve been together nearly twenty years, when we met our joint age was 100. Now he was standing, unsteadily, on top of a curved and slippery plastic fuel tank which, in turn, stood on a concrete plinth as tall as a man. ”I can’t turn my back for a moment!’ In his hands was a large but silent chain-saw. All around a hail storm raged; he moved his feet a little, they crunched, he wobbled; he laughed.
‘It’s okay,’ he said, ‘It’s quite stable.’
‘It’s slippery. It’s round. It’s wet plastic.’
There was a tree suspended, uncertainly, above his head; it spanned the space between its base, where it normally stood on the bank behind our house, and the house, on whose corner it now rested; it had been blown over in yesterday’s storm.
‘Come down! If you fall you’ll break your femur or you neck and by the time I get you to hospital you will have bled to death.’ I’m always mindful of his anticoagulant status.
‘Please come down.’
He pulled the starter and raised the roaring saw above his head with both hands, showering me with saw dust as I looked up, both arms raised in supplication or ready to catch him and have my head chopped off. The tree wavered above – whether ‘twas better to knock off a few more tiles or knock the old man off his perch.
‘Pull the rope.’ The old man shouted. I pulled the rope. It was attached to the tree (now that’s a first: he generally attaches the rope after he cuts). One of us groaned, it might have been the tree clutching at the guttering. The end of the gutter came away and the pipe sagged, shooting out ice-cold water and wet leaves.
‘Come down – please.’ He climbed down with surprising ease, having brought the wobbly step ladder out of the airing cupboard and placed it against the back of the tank. I was thinking on my feet. I picked up the long ladder that was lying nearby and flung it against the bank.
‘Look! Climb up that – you won’t slip and you won’t fall so far – worst case scenario – you’ll roll. Cut it at the top and I’ll pull.’ He did. And I did and the tree let go of the house and fell to the ground. He chopped it up on the ground and I pulled the logs and branches out of the way. I looked up and he was back up the bank, silhouetted against the sky, gleefully rocking a large rotten tree trunk back and forth.
‘Look at this one,’
‘There, you see, it was alright, wasn’t it?’