The Ax and the Anvil
“I’m not changing my mind, take it, or leave it!”
The words sank into my heart like lemon on an opened wound. But, that was Lettie, unapologetically acerbic with move verbal punch to the ounce than anyone else. It was always her way or the proverbial highway. Quite often she even tried to block that option.
With her words ringing in my ear, I turned on my heels and was about to leave the room when her voice stopped me.
“Where are you going?”
For a brief moment, I wanted to shoot from the lip just as she always did, but decided against i. This was not the time, besides there was nothing about her definitive declaration that I did not understand. There had to be a better way to convince her than engaging in an endless war of words. Her words, yielded with the sharp edges of an ax, always seem to cut me down to size while I tried to use the anvil of coercion to pound her into submission. To no avail; persuasion could not defend itself against the sharp, hard-boiled blows of intimidation. The match always ended in a forced, feigned acquiescence on my part; but not this time.
With little less than a backward glance, just enough for her to hear me, I indulged her query.
“I’ll be back. I need more time to consider.”
No point in tipping her off that I planned to “leave it.”
With quickened step, I headed toward my private place, a small enclave in the back of the house, sectioned off by evergreens in winter and flowering bushes in the summer. Lettie, confined to a wheelchair would never have a chance to exert her influence here.
I deliberately chose a bench where the sun’s rays landed, sat down and yielded my face to the sun’s embrace. For a brief moment, the wheels of resentment cease to roll , and thoughts stood still. Several minutes passed before Lettie’s words replace the luxury of less contemplative meditation.
Our conflict was not a new fork in the road; we had been down this path many times before. Now, it was time to forge a new path, if I were to remain her caregiver.
As I sat soaking up the sun, I bowed my head and prayed for guidance.
It had not been easy caring for Lettie for twenty years after an accident left her confined to a wheelchair. Actually, caring for her was a cake walk, but I hadn’t signed on as a harbor for the bitter resentment that had worsened over the years. I wondered if she knew how hard it would be to replace me. Perhaps, it never occurred to her that I might leave.
Now, every decision was a declaration of war; suggestions an occasion for conflict. My latest request for a long overdue increase in salary fed her need to make me company to her misery.
Would the thought of losing me convince her to change her mind?
As if by cue, the sun’s rays changed directions and shifted westward. I breathed a sigh of thank you for what I considered a literal sign from heaven.
I stood up and headed towards the house. Lettie had a decision to make, and this time my anvil of coercion would be equal to the task.
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