My new found independence it’s both exhilarating and exhausting. Who knew that mowing the lawn could be so painful. My backyard alone is approximately .30 acres. And somehow I managed to break the riding lawnmower that we had when I asked my husband to show me how to use it. I was trucking along and had almost finished the entire side and yard when it just stopped working. I checked the gas, still half full. I thought maybe I had run over something so I tried to push it to move it from it’s current location. Oh my God. What was I going to do when my husband left, there was no way I could push this thing back into the garage on my own. And it wouldn’t be so bad if our house didn’t sit right in front of the community mailboxes where everyone stopped to get their mail on the way home. How embarrassing.
You would think that this man who I spent the last 14 years of my life with would have a little bit of compassion for me. He just left me outside to try to fend for myself. Of course it broke when I was using it. And it made it worse that I actually had to go inside and ask him to come outside and help me. Like maybe there was a little bit of satisfaction that I couldn’t do it without him. I felt weak and a little sad. I asked him what I had done wrong which in a way this broken lawnmower was a metaphor of the last 5 years of our marriage. Where I had asked the same thing, what had I done wrong. It’s funny how some of us self blame. I watched as he tried to start it up and it began to smoke from underneath. Did I run over something I shouldn’t have? He just said, I don’t know what you did. Then he pushed the lawnmower back into the garage, saying, “well I guess you’ll have to contact someone to come fix it”. Then he just closed the garage and walked back into the house. The coldness in his voice and the rejection of his body language was something I was all to familiar with.
I called my Dad, and I spoke with my cousin. Both of which asked me, “Did you put oil in it? I don’t know. This was the first time I had ever used it. They both schooled me on how it was like a car. It needed gas, oil, and a tune up ever so often. They said, if no one has ever added oil to it, then you may have blown the engine. This was good and bad news. The good news, was that it was not my fault. We had had this lawnmower for about 6 months and this was the first time I had used it. But it was also bad news, because if my husband had never put oil in it, the engine probably was blown and the riding lawnmower was no more. Which mean, I would have to use the push mower to mow the .60 acres our property laid on. My husband was not the most handy man in the world, so this too gave me a little bit of satisfaction knowing that I probably knew something that he didn’t know and that it was actually him that broke the lawnmower due to his failure to upkeep it. But in the end, I was the one who would suffer the loss.
So here it was 2 weeks after that day and my husband had decided to mow the rest of the front yard. But there was still the backyard that continued to grow into a nice little cornfield. So, I came home from work, I started that push mower that I again, had never used before, and I prayed that it would not break. I started it up on my own, I figured out how to put the gas in it, and I figured out how to tilt the mower enough so that it could chop down the cornfields without clogging the mower to where it would shut off. It took me a little over an hour but I did it. Just before the last drop of light disappeared and the first drop of rain started.
My arms, my knees, my legs, my neck, and my abs were killing me. I had the first real workout I’ve had in over a year but I had done it. I was an independent woman. I had learned not to let your grass grow to high and drink plenty of water so that you won’t pass out. Now, if I can just learn how to use the weed eater.