This column originally appeared February 17, 2012, in issue 2007.
Have you ever wished you had the house all to yourself? That those people making demands on your time, energy, and patience would take a long walk on a short dock?
Those people might be kids, teenagers, spouses, or parents. All the annoying stuff they do is one huge pain in the butt. The toilet seat left up, the battle for the remote, the mess in the kitchen, the book bags littering the entrance, and the second-hand newspaper all irk.
You wish for silence, because you don’t really appreciate their choice in music or the yelling some families do. With little kids, you wish for some uninterrupted time to eat, sleep, bathe, or just pee.
You hate yourself for wanting to smother your snoring husband, but sleep deprivation brings murderous thoughts. And does he think You’re a short order cook? A laundress? A concierge?
I’m here to tell you that if you’ve had any of those thoughts (or worse), You’re normal. As someone living in silence right now, let me also tell you: watch what you pray for.
Roy is away trucking about an hour and half from home. Closer than the years he went to Houston, but too far to be home every night. With him gone I’m responsible for everything. Now I have to feed the five farm cats and keep the three bird feeders topped up. I have to remember to fuel the car and plug it in during the -30 degree cold snap.
It’s up to me to pick up the mail and pay the bills. I had to meet with the crop insurance adjuster who came to check the granaries to see if we have a claim for a poor canola crop.
I can handle all that and more. What’s most difficult is the toll taken on one’s psychological well-being. I try not to dwell on the spooky noises or the strange vehicles driving down our country road. I keep the doors locked and have on occasion not answered when I didn’t know who was knocking. I think about who I would call if the car wouldn’t start or if it slid into the ditch. I am aware of which lights I have on at night and how much of my interior is visible to someone looking in.
I try hard not to think about the 77-year-old retired farmer who was abducted a couple of weeks ago from his farmhouse near Vulcan, Alberta, and later found dismembered. I try hard not to think of myself as a sitting duck.
Anyone who’s lost a spouse to death?or even work away from home?would welcome the snoring, the noise, the mess. That’s what I see, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.